“For me to be a saint means to be myself.”
Traditionally in the Catholic Church the 1st of November we celebrate All Saints and the 2nd of November All Souls. I always found a beauty and richness in these two days of reflection with how the Church chooses to recognize their importance. If you have ever been to a Catholic service of high importance you’ve likely heard the beautiful Litany of Saints chant ringing out through the glorious walls wondering who these people and stories were that they had become so important to have their name sung out.
A mere glance around any Catholic Church you can see their statues standing proudly, their images imbedded into stunning stain glass windows and inevitably prayer cards of different saints strewn from pew to pew left by church goers evangelizing their lives through prayers specifically written for them.
The Saints lives hold pure beauty, teachings and every day lessons to aspire to on our daily journey through their trials and sufferings they overcame; a constant reminder they are not too different from us as we are easily like them while we try to follow our faith as they did. Really, we all have mentors in our life that could as easily be canonized into sainthood, but live humbly and quietly among us. People who have guided us by how they live out their lives, people whose words have stayed with us when making personal decisions along on our own journey and people whose presence we wanted to mirror for their lessons they taught us along the way just as the Saints had done.
All Souls the following day is a time to remember personal loved ones who have done the same for our journeys yet are now gone. Often souls from having left too soon for countless reasons to simply reaching the end of their journey, it is a day outside the anniversary of their deaths to build an alter paying respectful homage to their lives past finding healing in those precious memories.
I have never thought these two special days held in the Church should be for Catholics alone, their gifts are endless. I have always found a synchronicity to allow us to look within our journey at the mentors that have crossed our path from teachers to friends, spiritual companions and mentors to the everyday person on the street who you recognize their kindness daily to strangers while it may be clear they have nothing more to offer than said kindness. Really, if you look closely all these categories really mesh into one….myself.
As Merton explains clearly we must all strive to live a good, honest, caring and kind life. Mirror to the world what you want the world to say to you in return. This is not a hard task and in doing so, could we not all be saints?
When you walk down the street simply smile at the people you pass by, say good morning to a stranger. If you see someone struggling needing help with groceries don’t pause rather simply help them without words. When we see the poor begging for money, do not judge for you do not know their personal story. Rather offer a smile, a greeting and some change or food if you have it to give.
I always say to my children, I have more than one other person in the world, so I have something to offer someone else beside me.
Take a few minutes to challenge yourself today to look within your own journey at those who mentor you, the saints that have inspired you, and the souls that have gone before you and better yet how you are mentor to those around you….
Become the saint God created you to be…