Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
This week we celebrated the Solemnity of All Saints. I hope you are allowing the Saints to become part of your life. The Saints are those people we know – through solemn declaration of the Church – are in heaven, and therefore in a very special way can accompany us on our journey to join them one day in heaven. Here are some of my own personal favorites:
At the top of the list of saints whom the Lord brought into my life is the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is called “the Moon”, because the light of the Son so fully reflects off of Her. I remember how she first came into my life at a young age, because we were taught to pray the Rosary as little children. There was a grotto of our Lady of Lourdes behind our church, which we visited every Sunday when the weather permitted. I even pretended there were grottos in a couple of country hiding places I frequented as a little child (a long, no-longer-used lane from which a trolly track had been removed long ago; a large growth of bushes overhanging a ditch near our home).
Then after the Blessed Virgin Mary there is St. Joseph. He entered my life in a very significant way while I was on my 30-day Ignatian retreat my last year of seminary. I had never spent enough time before this meditating on what Jesus and Mary were to St. Joseph. Joseph became very real for me then.
So then, of course, there must be St. Ignatius of Loyola, who became such a significant friend and guide, a companion during that 30 day retreat (which he created for his followers). But he was significant even before then, because his method of prayer with Scripture had been passed on to me many years earlier.
Then there is St. Francis of Assisi, whose love for poverty led me in my college years literally to count out every article of clothing, every book, every cassette tape and all of my other possessions to make sure that I was living poverty. What a joy it was to try to imitate St. Francis in some small way as a college student! I was literally in tears doing this purging of my material things.
Then there is St. Catherine of Siena, whose talk in her Dialogues about climbing in through the wounded side of Jesus to reach his heart taught me something about how a Saint prays.
Then there is St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose willingness to give his life up for a Jewish family man who otherwise would have died helps me to realize how close martyrdom can come to us. It is St. Maximilian who in a particular way fired my love for the Blessed Virgin Mary by his writing about Her as Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Because of his teaching, I’m convinced that the Holy Spirit does everything on earth through the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
There is St. John of the Cross, whose nada doctrine and illustration of the soul’s journey up Mt. Carmel, a journey of emptying which ends up with the fullness of God, transformed my life in my first year of college.
There is St. John Vianney, patron saint of all priests, whose unflagging zeal in the confessional and discipline and poverty gave me vision for priesthood in my seminary years.
There are St. Isaac Jogues and St. Jean de Brebeuf, whose courageous evangelism among the Indians of Quebec won them the crown of martyrdom. My friends and I read their stories aloud to one another in my college years to inspire us to live the faith more fervently.
There is St. Peter Damien, whose De laudibus flagellorum helped me understand the purpose of disciplines in life.
There is Mother Teresa, whose spirituality, and sisters who had lived close to her added so much to me while I was in Rome.
There is Claude de la Columbiere who entered my life during a pilgrimage in France a number of years ago. I prayed at his tomb, and read his writings. I was very moved to hear that Our Lord told St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (promoter of the Sacred Heart devotion) that in St. Claude she would find a man who was a “true friend” of His Sacred Heart. Who wouldn’t want Jesus to be able to say that about him?!
There are several other saints I could mention, but I will stop here for the sake of brevity (although perhaps it is too late to speak of brevity).
Love the Saints! Be devoted to them. Live like them. Let them accompany you to Heaven. Saints make saints. Let us beg our Lord as we approach his body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist to transform us to be like the Saints with whom we commune as we receive the Incarnate Son whom they worship and see in full glory.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,