Saturday, November 1, 2008

O Blessed Communion!

When I was preparing for my confirmation, the catechists gave us a list of questions to memorize for the final exam. I remember one of them vividly: "Where do priests come from?" The answer was, "From the young men of the Church, such as those who will be confirmed this year." Though I knew priests didn't come from outer space, I had never thought of them as having once been young men like myself. Since my family was friendly with several priests, I was able to understand that - while still keeping them on a pedestal - they were no less human than I. All this, no doubt, contributed to my own desire to be a priest.

Now, let's take the question, "Where do priests come from?", and apply it to the feast of All Saints. Where do saints come from? Saints come from the people of the Church, such as those who are reading this blog. And, what is a saint? A saint is someone who has made it to heaven.

Isn't that what we all aspire to? In fact, God created us for no other purpose than to spend eternity with him in heaven. God created us to become saints.

Those whom the Church recognizes as saints, such as Saint Teresa of Avila or Saint Anthony, lived the gospel in a radical and heroic way. They serve as examples of the Christian life, and they pray for us in heaven. God has given us the saints to be our friends. All of us should have a posse of saints whose intercession we seek in every circumstance.

I remember reading in Thomas Merton's book, Sign of Jonas, about a saint (whose name I forget) who would be obnoxious to people so that they would leave him alone and he could pray. When I told my cousin about him, he said: "He must be the patron saint of the rude!" Indeed, there is a patron saint for every temperament and every personality. We should read about the lives of the saints and find those whom we can relate to and who can inspire us to live a holy way of life.

Each of us is called to be a saint. When we realize that the saints were men and women like us and when we consider them our friends, our desire to be like them will grow. It may be that most of us won't be recognized as saints by the Church the way Saint Francis, Saint Peter or Saint Catherine were. But, there's only one person whose recognition counts - God's. As long as God takes notice of us, the grace of a saintly life is ours for the asking.

No comments: