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Solemnity of All Saints

Scriptural Readings: Revelation 7:2-4,9-14; Psalms 24: 1b-2, 3-4ab, 5-6; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12

My dear encountered couples:

All Saints Day! A special day to honor the saints! That’s what we are here to do. Why? Because the saints are in heaven and they are receiving perfect honor from God. What more do they need from us – or from anyone else? What more could they possibly want? What could we ever do for the saints to make them any happier? Well, none of us can be sure of any good answers to those questions until we join them.

But one of the reasons for today’s feast is this: We are to be reminded of the saints, not only that there are such creatures, but to become more aware of just what it is that goes into the making of a saint, and then inspiring us to put forth more effort to become one.

For it is necessary to be a saint in order to live in heaven. And I am assuming that is where you would like to spend your eternity.

If so, then a saint you must become! What does it take? Two of the biggest ingredients are – FAITH and COURAGE: Faith to believe in the God who loves you passionately and who is always struggling to work things out for your good, and courage to do your part in cooperating with his efforts.

The fact that you are here seems to tell me you believe in God. That’s a beginning. St. Paul called the early Christians “saints.” They believed in God and were baptized into Christ. They were baby saints on their way to adulthood. We are too. He then tried to inspire them to live a life of courage so that their complete maturity as men and women of God would become a reality. We, too, must be courageous in order to become mature.

The courage I’m talking about is not merely the obvious type needed when thrown to the lions or put before a firing squad. I’m talking about the day to day courage required in the living of a normal life. The courage to get up in the morning to face another day is one thing I’m talking about. The temptation to stay under the covers and hide from the world can be very strong.

Here are a few more acts of courage that goes into the making of a saint after you’re once out of bed:

  • A sincere and pleasant “good morning” to those you live and work with. Remember, I said a sincere one, nothing fake or phony.

  • The courage to be truthful with your boss, your teacher, your parents, your spouse – all day. That includes being truthful with yourself too, seeing yourself as you really are – with the good and the bad – followed not by crawling back under the covers but by doing your best with the good you’ve got.

  • The courage to be pleasant and attentive to those who interrupt you when you are doing something very important. This takes courage because fear is often present, trying to make you think you’ll never get your job done well enough and soon enough if you let anything or anyone interrupt you.

  • A saint is one who has the courage to complain, not in the ordinary whining way, but in the way of talking things out with the person causing the problem. For instance: when your neighbors’ dogs keep you awake all night with their barking, or when their dogs are daily coming into your yard after your cats, instead of calling the police to handle the problem, muster the courage to go over and talk to your neighbors in as pleasant a way as you can. Try to work out what is best for your neighbors and you — as well as for the dogs and cats. (If that doesn’t work, then call the cops.)

I’m sure you can think of many things in your life that require courage. Often remember and consider the meaning of this old saying: “The cowardly die many deaths, but the courageous die only once.” In other words: Quit agonizing over fears and problems. Face them! That’s what saints do.

The courageous are in heaven, cowards live in hell. May this Feast of All Saints spur you onto an ever-increasing life of faith and courage! Be blessed!

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