Today the Holy Roman Catholic Church commemorates the solemnity of All Saints. This solemnity is celebrated on the 1st of November every year. If you attend Holy Mass regularly, you would be familiar with the feast days of many saints. However, while very many saints have feast days, an even larger number of saints do not have feast days. All Saints day is a day when the Church honors all of its Saints; those who have feast days as well as the countless number who do not have feast days.
Pope Francis is constantly challenging and reminding us of the call to holiness. Holiness is not something that is set aside for a chosen few. Every baptized Christian is called to be holy. It is in answering this call to holiness that Saints are born. In fact, sainthood is the realization of the call to holiness upon our lives. By this I mean that if we were to accept the challenge to be holy as God is Holy, then we will become Saints. This call to holiness is clearly identified in the Catechism Of The Catholic Church:-
“All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity.” All are called to holiness: “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ’s gift, so that… doing the will of the Father in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbor. Thus the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance, as is clearly shown in the history of the Church through the lives of so many saints.
Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ. This union is called “mystical” because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments – “the holy mysteries” – and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God calls us all to this intimate union with him, even if the special graces or extraordinary signs of this mystical life are granted only to some for the sake of manifesting the gratuitous gift given to all.
( 2013 – 2014)
So what exactly is a saint? Many may think that a saints are perfect; that they were without sin and that they did not have to undergo the many challenges that we face in our world today. This is not so. Saints are not perfect. They allow Jesus to take full control of their imperfections. They seek to align their lives and their will with that of Christ Jesus. Saints were normal persons just like you and I, who lived out their baptismal promises, giving their all to Christ Jesus, with-holding nothing.
By way of our baptism, all of us are called to be Saints. We are called to live like Jesus, to love like Jesus, to be merciful as he is merciful. We are called to be like Jesus in every possible way. Not only is this a call upon our lives as baptized Catholics, but it is a gift that the Heavenly Father will willingly lavish on all those who are willing to accept his call to holiness.
In his sharing today, Pope Francis said that saints are honored not because they are perfect or because they did everything right. They are honored because they allowed God to touch their lives and fought hard against sin. He continued, “the solemnity of All Saints is our feast – not because we are good, but because the holiness of God has touched our lives.
Pope Francis explained “Saints are our brothers and sisters who have received the light of God in their hearts and they have transmitted it to the world, each according to their own “tonality”. This is the purpose of life, Pope Francis said; to pass on the light of God; and also the purpose of our lives….”
I would like to reiterate that saints were not perfect and without sin. Two of the most popular sayings in the Catholic Church namely Saint Francis and Saint Augustine, we’re both young men who were very worldly. They both lived lives of sin until they encountered Jesus Christ and gave in to Him. Their lives were completely transformed. So it is well within all of us to become saints of God. All that we need to do is to allow the love and mercy of God to transform our lives and the to submit our imperfect will to his perfect will.
Another important aspect of living saintly lives is that it has a positive impact on our world, and we all know that our world is desperately in need of good news and of positive impact. So if you would like to have a positive impact on the lives of others and the world, strive for holiness – become saints. All that you need to become saints and live saintly lives, has already been provided in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Saint Christopher of Belmont and Saint Sandra of San Diego have a nice ring to it, don’t you think?