The Community of Saints

This week we pause to give honor and reverence to those who have gone before us.

The Church has set two Holy Days – All Saints Day and All Souls Day – but, interestingly, in Mexico and now, with the new popularity of El Día de los MuertosI, in our society the two days have merged into one.

As for the officially declared saints, a close look will reveal that they had personal faults, and many did not shake them off completely. Some were irritable, bossy, narrow minded and even insecure. Of course, some were cheerful and delightful.

Many, indeed, managed to do extraordinary things – and they get the limelight of sainthood.

But they didn’t get sainthood for the extraordinary. They got it for the everyday struggle to be better and to find a closer relationship with God. And for that, their lives shine a bright light for all of us to follow.

Many other ordinary folks who did their best can also be called “saints.” Almost everyone can recall a mom or dad or aunt or uncle or friend or public figure who were “saintly,” not because they held their hands in prayers all day every day, but because they lived upright lives in midst of all kinds of difficulties and thus personified the love of God.

In fact, those alive today who share the life of God and are striving every day to enliven relationships with one another, with the inner self, and with God – that is, who acknowledge God’s love and mercy and want to share it with others -- can rightly be called “saints.”

That beautiful hymn prays that “when saints go marching in, I want be in that number” gets this point just right.

This is what the belief in the Communion (Community) of Saints is all about.  Those of us here struggling – and at times failing – to make today a better day for those around us have the support and prayers from those who have already crossed into eternal life.

On these two feast days – All Saints Day and El Día de los Muertos -- we celebrate our bonds together.