SEEKING THE SAINTS IN A SECULAR SOCIETY
Sanctity and sainthood always appear to be somewhat removed from our lives. We place saints on pedestals and we view holiness as other worldly. Most of those we identify as saints seem to be heroic figures, pious and perfect persons. We give them an aura of what we would call “holiness”. But it is a “holiness” that takes them far from the life experiences that any one of us has.
In reality, the saints we honour are more like us than we think. And that “holiness” is only lived out among the moments of our human life. True holiness is really not removed from life, but is actually living a fully human life in our world, with its joys and its sorrows, its successes and its failures. Such a life is a gift of God. It is a truly holy life.
Perhaps it is better to speak of saintly moments rather than saintly lives. None of us can see ourselves as living saintly lives. There are just too many occasions when we would judge that we do not measure up. But certainly we can discover moments, many moments of saintliness in the lives of every one of us. And this is no small thing.
This weekend is the Feast of All Saints. What an opportunity to reflect on the saintly moments of all saints, including ourselves and those with whom we live. No, we cannot always see them, but such saintly moments are part of every life. And it is important that we seek and discover them all around us.
Following the lead of Matthew’s gospel and the beatitudes or blessings we see in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt.5:1-12) we can discover saintly moments in our own lives. Saintly moments are found when we are poor or able to recognize that we do not have it all together. They are found at times of loss and failure when we realize we need others with us. Saintly moments are those occasions when our hearts burn with a desire to liberate and bring justice to others. The holiness of sainthood touches our lives when we long to bring mercy, love and forgiveness to others. This sainthood is expressed in our desire to bring peace to every relationship – whether to our closest friends or to strangers on the other side of the world.
Seeking and finding the saints in our world means recognizing that in the many saintly moments of our own lives and the lives of others we come to see a holiness of life that fits into our lived reality. It is to discover that we are indeed, all us called to sainthood, not just in the future but in the here and now of our world.
Who are the saints in my life?