Reflection on the Solemnity of All Saints
The Solemnity of All Saints honors those whose love for God knows no limits. The Church has set them apart as examples of God’s transformative love. The occasion is an opportunity for all Christians to reflect on our lives as baptized children of God and our efforts here on earth to become saints in the next.
In my bathroom mirror, there is an index card that I see every day. The card has three powerful yet straightforward words written on it: “Become a Saint.” Those words are like bright lights that I cannot ignore. They are a reminder that by my baptism, God calls me to be holy. “Become a Saint” is a challenge because I am a sinner. Every day is an intentional fight to stay on the mark, near God. Most of all, “Become a Saint” is an aspiration of hope. Despite my frail humanity, I know that God loves me as I am. Through His forgiveness, nourishment, and the examples of the saints, He gives me the strength to believe that to “Become a Saint” is possible despite myself.
How can one become a saint? The Book of Revelations gives us one clue: “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress” (Rev 7:14). If a way to be a saint is to overcome distress, then many people today act like saints. They are doing so by imitating Christ, living the beatitudes (see Matthew 5:1-12). Among other things, they are merciful toward those suffering from unemployment, hunger, illness, and homelessness. They are fostering peace in our communities. They are protecting the sanctity of life equally from its conception to natural death. They are enduring insults and persecution because of their efforts to be Christlike.
Some people may argue that there is no need to behave like saints or believe in God to be merciful, make peace, or tolerate insults. To them, being friendly and caring for others is common sense; no religion is needed. Those are valid points. However, there is a difference. Those who practice kindness without faith are like people who play recreational sports in their backyards. For them, compassion is more of a hobby, something to do for fun on weekends or holidays or when time allows it.
On the other hand, Christians who act kindly because of their love for God are like professional athletes. To them, charity is a vocation. To be merciful, make peace, or tolerate insults define them as beloved children made in the image of God. However, they know that they are not perfect, but they strive to become saints despite it. Therefore, though their humanity is fraught at times, they continue to persevere. They do not let their shortcomings distract them from their ultimate victory: “To Become a Saint.
Most of all will never be recognized as saints by the Church. Like most people, I am still finding my way in the labyrinth of life. Darkness is as part of my life as light. I fall short as much as anyone else. The Solemnity of All Saints reminds me, however, that I am not alone in my struggles. That as long as I am breath left in my body, I believe in the transformative love of God. I can continue to strive to “Become a Saint” in His eyes.
May God bless you.
St. Michael the Archangel, Prince of the heavenly hosts and victor over rebellious spirits, pray for us.