Our saints are known to us as human and down to earth. As we learn their stories, we increasingly touch upon a genuine mystical reality which is unique to our Christian faith. The saints are children of God, sharing the very life of God. They are those who have been baptized into Christ, those who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. We are all made saints when in baptism we are made children of God. What this means is beyond our comprehension, but St. Paul continually insists that this is true. There is a challenge in this, that we live our lives as God’s children, that we claim and strive for the holiness which is our inheritance.
In the Gospel for the Solemnity of All Saints, St. Matthew list the Beatitudes, which give examples of what it means to live lives of holiness. Since the word “Beatitude” translates literally as “blessings”, those who follow these examples are said to be blessed. The Beatitudes are not meant to be taken as a checking of boxes as to how one is kept painfully aware of one’s shortcomings. Most of us get that already. Rather, the Beatitudes are images of blessings we have already, mystically been given in grace, by virtue of our baptism. We are already so blessed! It is a question of whether we have accepted that grace and can see blessings in the most difficult circumstances of our lives. Are we clearing out the false promises of happiness? Have we claimed our true blessings? Do others see our lives as lives of blessing?
"...the Beatitudes are images of blessings we have already, mystically been given in grace, by virtue of our baptism."
Those saints who have gone before us lived such lives. We remember examples of the unselfish love of parents, the sacrifice of members of the armed forces, the dedication of missioners in the field hospitals of the poor, sick and suffering, the patience of those who suffered, and the constancy of true friends. As we remember their stories, we touch upon a genuine mystical reality. We have genuine role models in our family of saints. We are constantly blessed by, in and through this family as children of God. The Kingdom of God belongs to such as these, saints of living memory. As St. Paul reminds us, it also, truly belongs to us. We are living saints. Yet we ask and ponder the question, “Is it really so? How can this be?”
The feasts of All Saints and All Souls mark the approaching ending of the current Ordinary Liturgical Cycle. They also remind all Christians of the approaching ending of our span of time here on earth. Take some time to reflect on your life as a saint. Has this been a good year? How does the image of Beatitude, your baptismal blessing, enliven and consume you and shine forth to others? How can Jesus help to bring more light into this mysterious gift of blessing which you possess?
The saints we celebrate, so human and down to earth, were never successful in their own eyes. They simply and humbly learned to turn to Jesus and persistently refused to give up. Jesus always came through. The blessing which then showed forth in their lives was the face of Jesus! This is not simply within our grasp. It is our deepest mystical reality. Turn to Jesus! We are on the road to sainthood!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg
Bishop of Pueblo