The Feast of All Saints Day has me thinking about my favourite saints, ones who have made an impression on me and who have helped me to walk closer with the Trinity. As I sat before the Blessed Sacrament, I found myself thanking God for these holy ones who in their lifetime were able to reach a peace about following God with all their minds, hearts and souls. Some had mystical experiences; others a deep, abiding friendship with one of the Trinity or with Mary. Some suffered greatly while others found peace. Not all started as saints–they were as human as the rest of us and yet somewhere along the line, their hearts and spirits exploded with an all-encompassing love of God.
Praying before the Blessed Sacrament is becoming a routine for me. I have a meeting in the building where it is exposed so stopping in post-meeting is easy. I sometimes simply bask in the Son’s Light lately, too tired to ask for much initially. I start always with one of my favourite name for Jesus–Joy of the Angels. I let those words settle into my soul and become still. I usually come with a shopping list of needs and yet I try hard to stay with an equal amount of praise too. Today was no exception. My mind wandered to all those people who are mentioned in the First Reading from Revelation 9 today: These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. These holy men and women have put their lives on the line because of their faith. They are the ones who pray for me constantly and who teach me to be courageous. I found myself giving thanks to Sts. Ignatius, Peregrine, Padre Pio, Clare, Francis, Catherine of Labouré, Therese, Theresa, Marguerite, Michael, Rafael, Gabriel, and so many more. Their presence seemed so tangible to me.
Psalm 24 asks today who shall stand in God’s holy place? The answer is someone who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up their soul to what is false. This seems like a tall order. I wonder if I can live up to that. I take heart knowing that initially not all saints had clean hearts and a pure heart and yet God called them to holiness. God knew what they were capable of and beckoned them beyond their comfort zones. They responded and their lives–and ours–were changed. Such beauty came from that and centuries later those of us who call upon them, still reap benefits.
This photo from Manresa shows St. Ignatius in rapture. The legend is that he fell as the church bells rang for morning mass and he remained outstretched on the ground for 8 days. The people wondered if he were dead but a slight pulse was detected. At the end of the 8 days, it is said that he rose and announced that there was much work to be done. Off he went. Something about this story captivates me. Perhaps it is the deep necessity to rest in order to carry out God’s will. Alternatively, the thought of God stopping me in my tracks to get my attention both scares and affirms me. I am tired coming off the steroids and feeling a bit sick. I suspect it is a cold; my energy is waning. I went to bed after getting home later than expected due to car trouble and woke up after 7 pm. I am hoping that I will be able to sleep tonight, knowing that my saints surround me and bless me.
What saint inspires you?
What life lesson has a saint taught you?
Beloved Saints you keep serving even from heaven, helping us to love God more, keeping us safe, and showing us the way. May we keep our eyes on you, learning what we need to know for our time here before we join you, singing a chorus of hallelujahs. Amen.