It is hard to believe that we are in November. We just celebrated the feast of All Saints and All Souls. For me, November is a time for remembering and being grateful.
The feast of All Saints can bring up memories for me of picking saints, studying about them, and then dressing up like them. Lots of saints with robes, crowns, and crosses. Easy costumes to acquire!
The dictionary defines a saint as “a person acknowledged as holy or virtuous and typically regarded as being in heaven after death.” You might be thinking, “That counts me out! I am not a very patient person and I tend to get angry and yell often.” Well, surprise! The saints were capable of that too, and probably more. “What!” you might say. Pope Francis explains it well in his 2017 Angelus message on the solemnity of that feast: “All Saints is our celebration: not because we are good, but because the sanctity of God has touched our life. The saints are not perfect models, but people through whom God has passed.”
We are all saints in the making. Holiness isn’t achieved by strolling through life without a care. It isn’t achieved in a perfectly quiet home with perfectly quiet children, a family that never disagrees, a perfect job, and perfect co-workers. Holiness is achieved by bearing the messiness of life with love, by responding to the spills and broken plates, and by navigating tough relationships and heartache with patience and understanding.
It reminds me of Edward Hays’s book St. George and the Dragon and the Quest for the Holy Grail. One of the scenes that always stays with me is when the dragon told George that he would call him St. George. George quickly replied that he wasn’t a saint. The Dragon said “ST. doesn’t mean Saint George. It means you are sent or Sent George. You have to be sent before you can become a saint!”
Like George, we are sent into the ordinariness of life, as messy as it may be, to bring kindness and love where it may be lacking. We are sent to live and breathe “The Prayer of St. Francis,” doing it one day at a time, or perhaps one minute at a time. Saints were not born saints; they worked hard at it most of their lives and for many it was a constant challenge. So, don’t be discouraged! We are all saints in the making.
This week, look around and see the saints in the making that surround you. When you start to see some of the simple kindnesses people do, you are observing a saint in the making. Why not encourage these saints-to-be with a letter or a call?
Like George, may you be SENT!
Till next week,