All Saints Day
In the making, but not yet. We all know we are to be saints. We know to be in heaven you must be a saint. But do all of us know the beginning of sainthood begins right now? When you hear the word ‘saint’ I think too many of call to mind the great saints of the past. Even in our lifetime there have been saints that were alive the same time we were.
For example, Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. People in the last fifty years are now being considered for canonization. These are all great examples of sainthood. And because we have so much admiration and respect for these people, we might find ourselves pulling back and thinking we could never be like them. Two issues with that way of thinking. First, God granted special graces to Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. God had a particular vocation all planned out for them. Even though they were human, they strived to respond to the call of God. They had to work at it. It took a lifetime. And as human they made mistakes, but they continued, they spent time in prayer, they went to confession, and they received communion. All things we can do. Second, God did not give you the graces He did to Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. Rather, He gave you the graces you need to live your life the way He has it planned out for you.
And just like the great saints, we get discouraged. But God has planned for that, too. He sent His Son. And through Jesus we have been given the Beatitudes, the gospel reading for the day. We hear this gospel several times each year and maybe we become passive in listening to the verses. “Blessed are they . . .” and we do not spend time thinking about what is being said. Or we hear this gospel passage at funerals because of the verse, “Blessed are they who mourn . . .” And it gives us some sense of comfort. But today, I would ask you to take a new look at the Beatitudes. I would like to have you think of them as an action plan. Each phrase is asking us to do something, not just sit passively.
For example, “Blessed are they who mourn.” It continues they will be comforted. This means that there are people who are willing to comfort those who are mourning. You do not need to dwell in your grief. Others are grieving, too. Even in our grief, we can be compassionate and loving. “Blessed are the clean of heart, they will see God.” Confession is an action. And if you are going to bring others to God it is important that you make sure your soul is in a state of grace. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they are children of God.” One of the hardest activities is to initiate steps towards peace whether it be family members, business associates, or world nations. It takes great patience and a lot of time to bring about peace.
The Beatitudes are action plans. We have lived through the different passages, perhaps too many times for some of them. But that does not mean we give up. No, we pick ourselves up, keeping in mind the two great commandments: to love God and our neighbor. Who needs your help today? Who do you know that needs forgiveness or mercy? Make it happen. It is part of the plan God has for you.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen