Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

All Saints

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“we are already the children of God”

The crowds applauded when Pope Benedict declared that we are all called to holiness of life, to be the future saints of the twenty-first century. Yet all too frequently the lives of previous saints are presented in such a way that they appear far removed from us ordinary people. Their faith and commitment, their life of prayer and devotion, their unselfish service of others, are all portrayed as so outstanding that we could never identify with them. And that is a great pity, for such an attitude to saints discourages many people from accepting as real that they too are called to sanctity.

 

So what makes a saint? It is not, in the first place, something we do. It starts with “the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children”. What we call grace is none other than the divine life of love flowing within us, making us children of God. In that sense we are already saints, “we are already the children of God”, affirms St. John. Today we celebrate the lives of the countless people who have tried their best to live as God’s beloved children and are now with God. Some are well known and revered, but most of the saints in heaven lived in relative obscurity as well as integrity. These are the saints who make up the vast multitude described in the first reading.

 

They sought to live the beatitudes in their daily lives: poor in spirit, grateful for what they possessed and generous to others; gentle and patient; courageous in the face of difficulties; honest and given to fair play; merciful, sympathetic and forgiving; open, reliable and trustworthy; peacemakers who seek to understand and help; ready to stand up for what they believe even when it is costly to do so. Surely, we have all known such saints. And if we are honest we know we can become saints as they did. We are already God’s children. With God’s grace who knows “what we are to be in the future”?