Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy All Saint's Day

I am actually kind of sad that I didn't attend Church today, I actually didn't remember that it was All Saint's Day until a few minutes ago. I said a prayer but I really wished I had celebrated things more properly. But while I like attending Church on All Saint's Day, it never had the same significance to me as say Good Friday or even Ash Wednesday.

Still, let be on your mind that this is a holy day, well all days are holy days really, but this more so than normal, as it is scheduled to concentrate all of our minds on God.

I've never been terribly sure of the significance of All Saint's Day, but in my mind it is a call to our own possibilities with God's help. It is a call to recognize, honor and venerate the saints who have gone before us, but it is also a call to recognize that with God's help even the lowest of us can become saints. I've never been to big on the role of saint's as intermediaries between us and God, I recognize it, and occasionally I'll say saint's prayers (of course I say often the Hail Mary, the prayer of the Queen of Saints, Mary, the Mother of God), but I've never had the degree of personal connection with a saint that made me concentrate on him or her as my special intercessor. Yet I take great significance to the role of saints as role models. Although, we might not be able to replicate exactly the circumstances they lived in (especially given the number of saints living way back in history), but we can imitate their spiritual lessons. I recently gave a speech about this sort of in Church, basically it was St. Francis' day and St. Francis is the patron saint of the MCYM (Malankara Catholic Youth Movement), and basically I said that we should imitate St. Francis' devotion to God and his devotion to doing God's will despite the other plans his father had for him. Another point to remember that St. Francis measured his success by his following God's will and not the money or success he achieved, something else to imitate.

To be honest I can't remember exactly what I said since I didn't write anything down, I was in a bit of a breakdown when I gave the speech and so I just remembered a couple main points in my head and I just let it flow out. That it came out pretty decent and conveying some good points about religion is perhaps a little bit of a miracle (I'll talk more about my personal take on miracles later). But the point is that we can imitate the spiritual lives of saints by taking the lessons of their relationships with God. Now saints weren't always right in their opinions (St. Augustine had some really weird views on plays (although he shared this with Plato)), nor did they necessarily live spotless lives (St. Augustine here is another good example, since he lived as basically a hedonist during his early years (I'm using St. Augustine for both examples since I read the first 9 or 10 books of Confessions by St. Augustine (I left off around the start of the exgenesis of Genesis, but that was sort of because I was busy writing a book report on Confessions)), but what all saints have in common (or at least all true saints), is a deep relationship with God and a deep devotion to pursuing that relationship and pursuing God's will.

This also means that if we want to achieve sainthood or something comparable, we don't need to be personally spotless, nor do we need to be right all the time. We just need to try to always get closer to God and to love God with all of our hearts, minds and souls. And part of loving God is loving his people, which is to say loving all of the world. And it's tough sometimes, but if we keep trying, yes, we can become saints. And if we don't have enough time in this world to achieve that goal, well, Jesus granted us forgiveness of sins, and since sins are what keeps us from God, if we keep trying to follow Jesus' path, then He will take away all that keeps us from it.

And I think even if you don't believe directly in God, it is still possible to achieve this. The Bible says, "He who loves everyone except God, loves everyone" or something to the like (I'd put up a link but my computer's failing right now, I believe the passage is in 1 Corinthians 13 (St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13), and so if we pursue the principle of love (and not say just the happy feeling love gives us, or our desire to possess one thing or relationship), even if we might not be directly setting out to try to follow God, in our hearts we are searching for that path. And I think that in the end, for those souls who are searching for the paths of love, God will show them the way to His kingdom. Least that's my take on it (where does this leave the importance of the Church? In my book, the Church is the best guide in pursuing those paths of love, but I'll elaborate on that in a later session).

So we can all look to the saints, and their relationship with God and the strength of their love for inspiration, and we can all learn from them. And maybe, if we find the right lessons in their ways, we too can be saints one day.

1 comment:

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