What Is A Saint?

1 Nov

“For centuries the church has confronted the human community with role models of greatness. We call them saints when what we really often mean to say is ‘icon,’ ‘star,’ ‘hero,’ ones so possessed by an internal vision of divine goodness that they give us a glimpse of the face of God in the center of the human. They give us a taste of the possibilities of greatness in ourselves.”  ~ Joan D. Chittister in A Passion for Life

The world has all sorts of heroes:  sports figures, actors, politicians, billionaires. You name it, and we seem to find a hero for it.

The problem with those many heroes is that they tend to crash and burn.  That is often because they cannot live on the pedestals we place them on.  They cannot stand the constant attention, the paparazzi, the throngs of people who often cling to them.

Then again, they often succumb to the temptations that come their way because they are so well known.  People want to give them all sorts of things — some legal, some not.  When they take what is wrong, they often end up going down a dark path.  That is the way of the world.

But there are heroes who face the world and who stand the test of time.  We call them saints.  The saints were people just like you and I.  They heard the voice of God calling them to faithfulness and trust and they heeded that voice.

We would do well to pay attention to the stories of the saints because they show us what we can do to attain holiness.

Sadly, there are some who take the attitude that there is no way they could ever do what a great saint did because, after all, that person was a saint.  No.  Wrong answer. That person was just like you and me.  A sinner, working his or her way through this life to the next.

On November 1st, we celebrate the Feast of All Saints.  Let us remember that we are all “saints in the making” and that we are called by God to holiness.  Let us also remember that it is possible to embrace that holiness.  The saints have already shown us that it is completely possible!

On November 2nd, we remember the souls who have gone before us.  We pray for them that they soon come in triumph as saints around God’s throne.  These first two days of November give us all much to remember and much to consider.

FAITH ACTION:  Ask God to give you the grace that you need to embrace His will for your life.  Additionally, reach out to a “saint in the making” who is doing a great job of living the Christian life and thank that person for his or her example.