Walking our Faith: We might be saints
Walking our Faith
On Wednesday morning, I sat in the little church of Saint John’s joining the men as I do each Wednesday morning for Communion. The blue-grey light was that peculiar gloaming that we associate with early twilight in winter, but which can also be found on winter mornings of a waning snowstorm.
The light reflected the mood as Charlie Brumbaugh, Rector of the Episcopal Church of Saint John the Baptist, read the gospel for All Saints’ Day, which is observed Nov. 1.
All Saints’ Day was originally established as a commemoration of church saints and martyrs. Over time, it evolved to include remembrances of loved ones who have passed and includes reading the names of those who have died in the past year.
As Charlie explained Wednesday morning, although we think of this day in terms of souls who have passed, God sees souls who have gone before, who live now and who are yet to be born, existing in an eternal present.
We see time as a horizontal line, which moves us farther away from our departed loved ones. If we could see with the eyes of God, we would realize our loved ones surround us as a cloud of witnesses, the curtain between this life and the next, diaphanous.
The gospel reading for All Saints’ Day is familiar, known as Beatitudes, it is offered as consolation for those who suffer. It occurred to me it also describes the attributes of Christ.
When God became man, his life embodied each of the Beatitudes and, by example, showed us how to live a good life: Blessed are the poor in spirit, who mourn, the meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the clean of heart, the peacemakers, who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Saint Therese of Lisieux lived only to the age of 24 but decided early her one goal in life was to become a saint. She knew she was not a miracle worker nor an intellect nor a leader. But she had great insight. “Our Lord has created great saints who are the roses and the lilies of his kingdom, but has also created lesser ones, simple daisies and violets growing at his feet. His love is as manifest in the small as in the great.” (“The Story of a Soul,” the autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux)
After much prayer, Terese decided that to become a saint was to become like Christ. And since Christ was love, to become a saint was to become one who loved like Christ. “… should love ever fail, apostles would no longer preach the gospel, and martyrs would no longer shed their blood … love includes every vocation, love is all things … I have found my vocation at last — my vocation is love!” (“The Story of a Soul”)
With this definition in mind, I recall the saints in my own life: My father who passed away over 30 years ago, and my mother who, at the age of 92, intends to live to be at least 102. Who are the saints in your life?
The original title of this essay was “We are all saints,” a clever play on All Saints’ Day. I changed it to “We might be saints” because as Saint Therese understood, the choice is ours.
In the loving eyes of God, we are saints, our original sin does not define us. He only asks that we return to him with an open heart and the desire to accept God’s love for us and share that love with others, no matter who they are or what they believe or what they have done, to see in everyone Christ looking back at us asking, “Do you love me?”
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be Warm, of Silverthorne, has a mission to spread the love of Jesus by providing winter essentials to those in need. The group looks for those who are sleeping outside or car camping in Summit County. The group will be handing out bags of warm essentials (wool socks, hand warmers, gloves, hats, blankets, etc.) from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, at Rainbow Park in Silverthorne. The group is accepting donations of any of these items, and sleeping bags are especially needed.
The group also provides Thanksgiving To Go meals for those in need. Each year, between 300 and 400 filled bags (each feeding 4-6 people) get distributed to individuals and families across Summit County. These bags will be given to those who might need a little extra help and cheer this Thanksgiving. The group works with several Summit County agencies to identify folks who want them. Email Terese Keil at email@example.com if you would like a bag for yourself or someone you know or if you’d like to go shopping to fill a bag.
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