By Anthony Nguyen, C.Ss.R.
November began with two important feasts: All Saints and All Souls. These two feast days not only help us to remember in prayer our holy men and women in heaven and all the souls who have completed their journeys on earth, but they also give us pause to reflect on our own calls to be saints and our readiness to meet Christ.
Participants in the ‘Saints of the 20th Century’ First Saturday Half-Day Retreat on November 7 at the Redemptorist Renewal Center in Tucson learned about the virtues of different saints, their words of wisdom, and their ways of living a sanctified life.
It was interesting to discover that definitions of saints range from high expectations such as exceptional virtue and kindness to just simply being a sinner who never gave up. Those definitions are reflected in the lives of the apostles, who came from different walks of life, carrying their personal weaknesses and their common identity as sinners. Yet they never gave up their desires to become better people and witnesses of the Redeemer. Except for John, they all courageously accepted the crown of martyrdom. Even a Doctor of the Church had a sinner’s background, but he became a saint through personal conversion. He discovered his true self, centered his life on God, and dedicated his life to serving others.
Words of wisdom from the saints inspire our daily lives:
- Here is the rule for everyday life: do not do anything which you cannot offer to God. (St. John Vianney)
- As to the past, let us entrust it to God’s mercy, the future to Divine Providence. Our task is to live Holy the present moment. (St. Gianna Molla)
- Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love. (St. Teresa of Calcutta)
- Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kind word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love. (St. Therese, Little Flower of Jesus)
- Don’t waste your suffering. (St. Pope John Paul II)
We can pursue the call to be a saint if we know that our lives are not only about us but others. As Catholics, we are grateful for the lives of St. Damien and St. Marianne Cope, who served lepers and the sick in Molokai and Kalaupapa. We are proud to have a saint like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who dedicated her life to bringing dignity to homeless people near the moment of death. We are humbled by the courageous acts of St. Bishop Oscar Romero and St. Andrew Dung-Lac Tran, who risked their lives to stand up for faith, social justice, and suffering people.
This upcoming Thanksgiving Day, we can thank God for the call to be a saint. Let us always remember: To be a saint is not a privilege for the few, but a vocation for everyone. Blessings to all.
Courtesy of Denverlink, update November 13, 2020.