It’s All Saints Day in the Catholic Church.
This day marks the beginning of a month dedicated to remembering loved ones and role models and inspiring people who have gone before us.
Whenever I think about Saints these days, I remind myself that:
- We walk among the Saints.
- We are all a part of the Communion of Saints.
- Saints are not perfect.
- We can’t really be Saints ourselves unless we are ourselves… true to the persons God created us to be.
When I look up the saints, I can often fall into the trap of only tapping into the saintly part of their story. But believing that I too am capable of sainthood requires me to tap into the whole stories of saints that went before me. I have to acknowledge their humanity. I have to look at their ability to find God in the messiness of real life. I have to take them off the pedestals I place them on to stand next to them for awhile and see what I can learn from the whole of their lives.
That’s maybe why I personally like St. Ignatius’ story so much. First of all, it’s easy to find the fullness of his story… nothing I’ve ever read about him shied away from the more challenging parts of his journey.
He made mistakes, he learned lessons, he battled his arrogance and his quest for recognition probably most of his life – even after he chose to follow God.
He asked the men he brought into the Society of Jesus to be contemplatives in action. He asked them to be intricately connected to the world and deeply reflective on how they showed up in it. He remind them that they were each uniquely formed, uniquely called, and uniquely chosen.
Today, I felt it important to pause and remind myself of the words of Thomas Merton (not yet a named saint but a sign of God for so many):
“For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.”
May God grace you today with the knowledge that you are one of the Communion of Saints called to shine your unique light in the world today.
For more real looks at saints check out Meg Hunter-Kilmer’s work who has two great new books out on sainthood. Much gratitude to her for providing us with a diverse and real look at our partners in faith. (She’s got great saint stories saved @mhunterkilmer on Instagram)