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Father Muench Says...

Celebrating, striving to become saints

Nov. 6, 2019

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

All Saints Day is one of my favorite feast days. I find a certain joy in remembering and praying to all my saints. I readily admit to you that I did not know any canonized saint personally. But I want you to know that I had my picture taken with a canonized saint, St. Pope John Paul II. It was a group picture at a Papal Audience. I was with a sabbatical group of priests at the North American College.

I must tell you that as the group formed around the pope, I ended up rather close to him. In fact, I placed my hand on his as the photo was taken. So, I have also touched a canonized saint.

Now, as you know, All Saints Day is a celebration of all the saints – the canonized saints and all the other saints. There are many, many saints with the Lord who have not had formal canonizations. So, I know that I have many friends and acquaintances among the saints.

We are all called to be saints. This is the reason God put us here on this earth. Jesus makes this clear as we read the Gospels. Our lifelong pilgrimage is a road to sanctity. No other successes matter in life. With God’s support, the path to sanctity is possible and achievable for all of us.

This road to sanctity is different for each and every one of us. Just reading the lives of the canonized saints, we can see how different their paths to sanctity were. However, they all depended on the support and love of God.

On All Saints Day, we are reminded we are all called to become saints. There is someone who often comes to me for confession. He usually begins by saying, “Well, Father, I am no saint.” My regular response is, “Then you better get busy. There is no other reason for us to be here.” Our road to sanctity always begins with the faith and confidence given us by the Holy Spirit that with God’s help we can and certainly will become saints.

Following Jesus is often challenging. We fail some days. The great saints tell us that they had days when they failed to follow Jesus – when they sinned. Jesus promised us his love and forgiveness. Jesus promises to never give up on us. Jesus always comes looking for the lost sheep, for the prodigal son. With such a loving God, we will all become saints.

In the early Church, the great saints, the leaders of the Church, would begin their letters to the Christians by addressing them as, “the saints of Corinth…” or “the saints of Ephesus…” or “the saints of some other place…” Right from the beginning these new Christians were saints. Now, our Church considers us all as saints.

Saints are good human begins. Unfortunately, some have very strange ideas of just what a saint is, and some refuse to want to live a saintly life. A saint is a good person. A saint is someone you like to be with. A saint is someone who brings happiness into a friendship, into a community. A saint knows how to bring peace and love into a parish. Our world needs more and more saints.

Each All Saints Day, as I think about and celebrate my saints, I begin with my mother. I know she is now among the saints in heaven.

I continue to think of the good priests, the hard-working religious Sisters, the wonderful lay men and women, parents who brought joy into wonderful families. I think of the wonderful people who made my world, this world a better place.

Each us must find our road, our different roads to sanctity.

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