On the first day of November, we remember not only the many canonized saints but also the many saints whose lives remain shrouded in mystery. Perhaps we have known them among our family and friends!
In this brief reflection, I would like to focus on three qualities that seem to tie the saints together as a family.
The first is humility. In times of stress, the saints don’t play the blame and shame game, looking to pin fault on another person or on a particular situation. Rather, they look deep within themselves to fi nd the strength and courage of the Lord. They are the pure of heart who see God! Their favorite utterance is much like the Jesus Prayer:
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Secondly, the saints have unbounded confidence in God. When things go badly, they are not maudlin or cynical. Saints are rarely grumps for Jesus. In the midst of the storm, they seek to exercise faith, hope, and love, knowing in a heartfelt way that God is leading them. Saint Therese of Lisieux used to say, “It is impossible to have too much confidence in the Good Lord.” Saints are rooted in that kind of inner confidence.
Finally, the saints are full of joy. The chubby Benedictine, Blessed Columba Marmion writes, “Joy is the echo of God’s love in the soul!” It’s important to say that joy is not necessarily earthly happiness. The great 16th mystic poet, Saint John of the Cross, was imprisoned by his own religious community because of his devotion to the reforms of Saint Teresa of Avila. While locked in a small, dark cell, John of the Cross wrote one of the most soaring love songs to God ever written, The Spiritual Canticle. From a place of unhappiness and darkness, John gave voice to his joy in
the Beloved, Jesus Christ.
My friends, Eternal Life is our true home. The saints help to show us the way. Let’s be persevering in the ways of humility and confidence, knowing that the Spirit of the Lord will fill us with abundant joy, the joy that lasts forever and ever. AMEN!
Peace and Joy,
Fr Al, a loved sinner