Happy Feast Day. We are all called to be saints and to live forever with God in heaven. Naturally, we remember all the famous saints. Some of us have favorite saints that we call upon when we are in trouble.
Everybody knows about St. Anthony and how he intercedes for us when we loose stuff. St. Jude is the patron for impossible cases, he’s for emergencies. St. Lucy helps people who have lost or losing their sight. The list is long of all the heroes throughout history. In the Apostle’s Creed we say, that we believe in the communion of saints—which means that we are in communion with them, especially at the Eucharistic Table, where we are already seated at the heavenly banquet. One of the criticisms of folks who are not Roman Catholic is that we pray to the saints and that we are not supposed to pray to anyone but God alone. Difficult to understand unless we look at the Catechism—our tradition. The communion of saints is a family business. “We’re all in this together.” The saints were once where we are, with the messiness of humanity and they managed to get to heaven, with God’s help. Therefore, stands to reason, if someone has traveled a road, we want them to warn us about the difficulties, the holes, the forks in the road. Experience is the best teacher—life is the best teacher. The saints lived their life and now have an advantage—they can see us and give us a helping hand. Therefore, that’s all that we ask of them—their intercession—their advice—to put in a good word for us. We do not worship them or think of them as smarter or more merciful than God. After all, God gave them everything they have—made them who they are. So, when we venerate the saints, we give credit to God from whom all goodness comes.
People say, “I’m no saint”. Perhaps our image of sainthood needs adjusting. A saint is not perfect. No human being is perfect, only God. Humans are limited creatures with limited understanding, including the Blessed Mother. She’s great! The best of the best! However, she is one of us—human in every way, except without sin—just like our first ancestors. Mary is referred to as the “new Eve”. Like the first Eve, Mary was had no sin and chose to remain without sin. She is the pattern of holiness—of how to be human—how to be happy—which comes from doing what God wants. Mary speaks very few times in the Bible. One of those times was at the wedding at Cana when She told the waiters, “Do whatever He tells you.” That was Her mission in life. Not only to give flesh to Jesus Christ, but to direct humanity to His service.
There’s no secret to becoming a saint. Mary showed us how. “Do whatever He tells you.” Many things have been attributed to the Blessed Mother over the years—apparitions, statements about what heaven and hell are—Fatima secrets. However, when in doubt—remember the wedding at Cana. Although Jesus showed some apprehension at her request, He did what His mother wanted—prevented a disaster and saved the Groom and Bride from embarrassment. The majority of us are aware of how difficult it is to refuse our mother’s requests. Not that Mary is greater, but that God has given her a special place in salvation history. She is Queen of Saints. She’s the one that crushed the head of the serpent. Mary has saved countries from annihilation, like Mexico because She looks out for the poor, the forgotten, the little people. Mary started when She was conceived. Sainthood starts at conception. Which is why we remember the children who have been murdered in the womb, those who die of starvation because of injustice, the victims of abuse in the homes. Our communion with the saints is not about some faraway place in a galaxy beyond the stars. Our communion is now, here, the people who surround us. If we cannot get along with each other now, we won’t get along later. Our challenge is to live what we are called to be—saints.
One of the ways that we live our sainthood is to have mutual respect for each other. Although we are all different, our unity is in Christ.