On November 1, we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints, a time to take pause and reflect on all those holy women and men who have come before us and those who live among us. As a culture, we love to acknowledge greatness. We celebrate super bowls, world series and Olympic games to identify and celebrate the best athletes. We have spelling bees and geography bees to celebrate the best and the brightest. We choose a valedictorian at graduation to identify who achieved the best grades. Who doesn’t love a glory story? All Saints Day is our opportunity to cherish those holy men and women who lived the gospel with their whole hearts. It wasn’t easy, popular or fun but he said, “Come follow me,” and they did.
I have been blessed to know many people who are saints. They have not been through the process of canonization, and will never have a feast day, but they have lived holy lives. Here on Earth they demonstrated their commitment to the Gospel in ministering to those around them. Just like the canonized saints, many of their lives did not start as glory stories. They struggled, but at some point they experienced conversion. I think most of us can identify someone we know who is a saint in our midst. Their actions and deeds speak to the kingdom in a way that is holy and good. On this holy day we celebrate each of them. We recall that they are praying for us, for our lives, for our struggles and our triumphs. When we pray together at Mass, we pray in communion with saints. All of us, living and dead, unite our prayers as one. While we do not pray to saints, we ask saints to pray for us. We look to the heavens and consider those who walk among us and deeply live the Gospel. We join them in prayer. We recall that as one People of God, we go to God together, praying for one another, celebrating everyday holiness, and especially the strength of those who have lived the Gospel.
On this eve of All Saints Day, All Hallow’s Eve, we remember we are called to be saints. Pope Francis reminded us of that in 2014, when he encouraged us to be saints in our daily lives. For me, that is when it is most difficult to be a saint. In the daily encounters, the comings and goings I fall short often. On All Saint’s Day however, I look to St. Peter, who denied Jesus three times and became the rock of our church. On this day I honor him and all those who came before me, who give hope that we too can live extraordinary virtues in our ordinary lives.