In the Roman Catholic tradition, All Saints Day is traditionally celebrated on November 1st. It is a day we commemorate all those who have gone before us and who have lived an exemplar life. When I think of exemplar lives, I often think of the sacrifices that my parents made for all of us at home. They were ordinary people who gave their all for the sake of us. This echoes the life of Jesus who gave his life for the sake of others. I know that my parents would be aghast to think I compare them to Christ, however, through their very ordinary lives they did give their all to us in the most loving way they knew. Isn’t that what sainthood is? Not the Capital “S”, but the small “s”, which I believe all of us have the potential of knowing and being. Each of us is called to be Christ-like in the world.
Mechthild of Magdeburg, a mystic of the 13th century, says: “To the extent that we desire that God be praised…we are like the prophets…who through great virtue overcame themselves in Christ. To the extent that we learn wisdom and through it change…we are like the holy apostles, who went out of themselves even to death. To the extent that we are patient in distress…we resemble the holy martyrs, who have marked out for us through the shedding of their blood the true path to heaven.” May we be like those who desire God and long for wisdom and turn our lives to change. May we be patient, even when it feels like martyrdom, so that we may join those who have gone before us.
Clare Carr, OSB