For All the Saints, Past and Present

I’ve been thinking a lot about saints.  All Saints Day (November 1) coincided with one of my classes studying the lives of medieval female saints.  These women were officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church for their heroic displays of compassion and reports of miracles they performed.

It’s also the case that this past Sunday churches around the world honored the saints who have gone before us.  Remembered especially were those who died in the past year.  At these worship services, bells tolled as each name was read aloud.  It was a time to honor the lives of those who passed away, to remember them in death, and to hope for more for all of us who mourn their passing.

I come from a wing of Christianity that does not share in the ongoing Roman Catholic tradition of granting official saintly status to persons performing miracles or living particularly virtuous lives.  Nevertheless, in remembering those who’ve gone before us, we still use the word saint.

If it is the case that all of us are children of God, then it seems that all of us are born with huge potential for sainthood.  Most of us spend our days far from that ideal; yet it’s true that especially in times of great need, many of us are recipients of grace given by saints in our midst.  I know that since my own cancer diagnosis, life has been full of encounters with saints.

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