I love this feast day. For a Christian, what is there not to love? A day that celebrates all those who have passed before us, especially those who can be held up as a worthy example to those left behind. I love to imagine all the saints crowded around the throne of God, leaning down to look upon the earth, delighted with the increased prayers and celebrations of the day.
What is a saint? A saint is not perfect, that is for sure. One has only to pick up a book on the lives of saints in order to see that. They struggled with everything anyone else does, and each one had their own peculiar temptations and distractions. Some loved food, some were proud, some tended towards snottiness, while others fought against anger. Some were nuns and priests, while others were wives, fathers, children, missionaries, ministers, or popes. In the end, what defines them is how they view the world and their own relationship to it. Saints really get it. They manage to understand (as far as true understanding is even possible) that as lovely as the world is, it only points to its Creator. There is so... much.... more.
Even their own stories, the examples that we look up to on this feast day, are never meant to be an end in themselves. A saint's life ultimately points to God. That is why we read about them. That is why we pray. St. Terese can do nothing for me. St. Anthony is helpless on his own. But both of them can pray, intercede to God, for me. We all need intermediaries. Not that God won't hear us on our own - He will. But asking others, especially those who have gone before us, especially those who lived their lives in a much better way than I am managing - their prayers, their extra pleading to God, help my pitiful case so much more.
I need all the prayers I can get.
We read the lives of the saints - or we should - because they remind us. They help us to remember
- it is actually possible to live a life of good here in this world. No excuses.
- what is important and what is dross.
- to open our minds and hearts to God, and to God through those around us.
- the kingdom of Heaven begins here, in this world
I find that when I read, even just a little, about the life of....oh, say St. Augustine or St. Elizabeth Leseur, that I find myself wondering why I don't pray more, more earnestly, why I don't volunteer more, why I let the little things get to me. I remember that the things that bother me are the things that are passing. I (usually) realize that my mind has wondered from the real road. Like Dante in The Inferno, I find myself awakened to see I have strayed from the path and am in danger of never reaching the summit.
|St. Cecilia, patron saint of musicians|
The boys and I planned on making it to noon mass today, but I had the brilliant idea of doing the shopping this morning with the Mad Toddler. We barely made it home with sanity intact, and needless to say, did not make mass. I miss it being a day of obligation. I will miss chanting the litanty of the saints in a warm, dim church. We will do it at home, instead.
I read this article today, about a couple's amazing 6 million dollar dream house. I thought it was ironic to see it on Yahoo news on this day. Not that wealthy people cannot build a beautiful home, but the whole article just reeked of self-centeredness and.......being weighted down by possessions. Perhaps it was because I read it just after I put a book down about the lives of women saints. It just paled by comparison.
Pray for us, all you saints of God, as we gather here this day.