All Saints Day:
Today we celebrate the feast of All Saints. Today we remember all those who have been found victorious, those who have been washed clean in the blood of the lamb. Today we honor God our Father who is glorified through his work in the Saints. Today we remember all those whose lives of virtue and holiness have won for them the rewards of eternal life. We are inspired by their example, and aided by their prayers. All you holy men and women pray for us.
While we celebrate the feast of all the saints, we are reminded that sainthood is not the vocation of a select few. Rather, we are all called to be holy, we are all called to be saints. At the beginning of every school year, I tell the kids that we all have one homework assignment in life. Our goal is to become saints. You can ask them, I’m sure it’s annoying, but I remind them about his vocation all the time. But, it’s not just for the kids. We are all called to be saints. In fact, there are only two options: either to be a saint, or not to be a saint. To be a saint means to be with God in this life and in the life to come, not to be a saint means to be distant from God in this life and in the life to come. That’s it, there are no other options. There is no middle ground, either you are a saint or you are not. To be a saint means an eternity of happiness being with the God who loves us, not to be a saint means an eternity doomed to our own selfishness, pride, and sinfulness. If given the choice, who would choose the latter? But, every day we are given the choice, and when we sin we are choosing not to be a saint. To seek virtue and holiness means to seek sainthood, something we should be seeking every day.
But, when we think about the saints, it can be somewhat depressing. We see these great models of holiness: Mother Teresa picking up the destitute in Calcutta, John Paul II and his courageous witness to the dignity of the human person, St. Francis and his love of poverty and the poor, St. Therese of Liseaux, who loved others even in the small things. The list goes on and on. When I think of these great saints, I get a little down: how am I supposed to be a saint? I am a sinner, I struggle and I fall, even if I true to do those things that the saints did, I find that I cannot do it. But, that’s ok!
Saints do not become saints because of their own effort. No one can become a saint on their own. Rather, we become saints not because of something we do, but because of something that God does. It is the power of the cross made present in our world that makes saints. All of the saints you can think of, they lived their great lives, not because of their own power, but because of the power of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the one who makes saints. Rather than depress us, this should give us great hope, because the same Holy Spirit that made John Paul II great, is present to you. The same Holy Spirit that helped St Francis will come to your aid. The power to become saints does not come from us, but it is available to us.
One great way to grow in holiness is by Eucharistic adoration. This last week Bishop Rhoades mentioned that adoration is the most powerful devotion we have. By spending time with Christ in the chapel, we get a chance to become more like him. Eucharistic adoration is a great way for us to grow in our vocation to holiness, our vocation to be a saint.
What, then, is the difference between a sinner who becomes a saint and a sinner that remains isolated from God? This is a question I want each of you to ponder. Because all of us are sinners, but we should all want to be saints. In my opinion, the difference between a sinner who becomes a saint and a sinner who remains isolated is openness. Are we open to God? Do we allow God into our life? Do we allow God to direct our daily actions? Do we listen to the voice of God, do we trust him, love him, want to be with him? Do I come to him here in this Eucharist to receive the strength I need in my life? If we let God in, he will do amazing things, we will become saints! If we keep him out, it will be the biggest tragedy we can imagine. So I leave you with a question: do you want to be a saint? If the answer is yes, be open to God and let him into your life.