As we enter the month of November, we are reminded of the ultimate end of every Christian, indeed the ultimate end of every human being: sainthood. Each and every one of us, created in the image and likeness of God and redeemed by His Son, is destined for this purpose. How fitting it is that this month of remembrance should begin with the Solemnity of All Saints. We look back at the lives of those exemplary men and women who have gone before us in order to look forward at what awaits us and live in the here and now so as to reach that place beyond all time and space.
What is a saint? Most fundamentally it is someone who has lived with God in this life so as to live with Him forever in the next. A saint can be thought of in so many different ways: as a friend of God, a pilgrim who has reached his destination, a mustard seed that has reached its full stature, one who has climbed the mountain of life and finally stands at its summit. The truth is, there are as many definitions of sainthood as there are people. Each of us in our ordinariness are called to the extraordinariness of eternal life.
How wonderful! But how do we apply this concretely, how are we called to live saintly lives in the context of our day-to-day? To me, the answer lies in LOVE. Because God is love, and Scripture tells us that he who loves is born of God and knows God. God lives His life in us when we love. What better example of this than the life of the Blessed Mother, the first of all the saints!
We see in the Incarnation Mary giving herself so trustingly, so obediently, and with such humility to the will of God. She does not know what will happen, how she will be treated or how any of this is possible. But she says “yes” to God, to His plan for her life, and by her “yes” God’s love enters into the world: the love of God takes on flesh in the person of Jesus Christ.
Let this be our model as we enter the month of November and celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints. In our daily lives, in ways big and small, may we say “yes” to God, and allow His love to enter the world through us. May it take flesh in our actions, incarnate in how we treat one another and give of ourselves in humble service. For Mary, this meant giving birth to the Savior. For us it means smiling at a stranger, praying for a friend in need, taking time to talk to a homeless person, listening attentively long after we’ve lost interest, and sharing our study notes when we’d rather refuse. In short, finding ways each day to love one another as Christ has loved us.
In this our world is transformed, in this our lives are renewed; in this we live in God, and God in us, and we become His saints.
Julian Paparella, Newmanite in absentia