The second half of the 20th century, saw a number of Christians facing suffering and persecution in Eastern Europe… … under the influence of the Communist regime.
There was a heroic Bishop, who continued to work in this dreadful atmosphere…
… and continued to preach the Gospel.
He attributes his strength to be bold and zealous for the Lord..
… thanks to a beautiful vocation call he received, through the medium of his grandmother.
This Bishop had been orphaned at a young age and lived with his grandmother.
>> They stayed in the house of his uncle, who was the parish priest of a particular church.
Soon after the communists had taken power, they captured this parish priest and had him arrested..
… leaving the grandmother and the little son (the Bishop) alone.
After a week of captivating the parish priest, the offenders came to the church as well as the residence, to ransack any religious article, documents or images that could be found.
Finally, when they finished looting everything, as they left…
… the grandmother and the boy, stood at the entrance of the house.
One of the soldiers, with contempt and mockery asked the old lady, “Well, do you have any more religious articles or cross that we can take with us?”
The grandmother, with boldness and courage, looked into the face of the soldier and said:
“Well, I do have one.
But you cannot take that away from me!”
Saying so, she made the Sign of the Cross!
The soldiers were taken aback…
… but left, without saying a word.
The powerful witness by the grandmother, sparked the fire of Divine Vocation in the heart of that young boy…
… who went on to become a heroic Bishop – himself giving witness to the Lord, in the midst of persecutions!
Such are saintly lives, isn’t it?
They spur us on… to live Christian lives with boldness and courage!
Today, Holy Mother the Church is geared up to celebrate Her Saints – on this Solemnity of the All-Saints!
>> It’s a day of immense celebration of these superheroes of God!
The Church invites us to lift our gaze to heaven…
… and thank and praise God for the innumerable people who not only persevered in their faith while they lived on earth…
… but actually lived their lives in such a way that they built up Christ’s Kingdom in the world.
The saints are not superheroes in the worldly sense…
What sets them apart…
… is not their miraculous power
… is not their popularity and fame.
Rather, what makes them saints, is their faith and their discipleship and their service to others.
The word..SAINT…sometimes strikes an odd chord in our minds…
Saints are often considered to be people…
… beyond our reach and too holy for our lives
… for whom the path to sanctity was made easy and cosy.
… who are given a special boon from God to live a holy life.
But the truth perhaps, is quite contrary…
Saints are people…
… who are truly very close to us and lived in simple and ordinary life situations like us.
… who had to struggle through many hardships and trials in the path to holiness.
… who co-operated with the grace of God and remained faithful to their commitment and call
Every Christian is called to a life of Holiness and to be a Saint…
How is this possible in our lives…?
The Beatitudes proclaimed by Jesus, in today’s Gospel shows us the path… (Mt 5: 1-10)
Being a saint…
… by depending on God in all dimensions of our life and seeking His Kingdom above all
… by mourning over our sins and seeking to live a life in repentance.
… by living a life of firm gentleness and trusting patience in the midst of injustice and pain
… by becoming agents of justice and seekers of establishing truth
… by giving mercy and compassion to the needy and even to those who we feel, don’t deserve
… by preserving purity in our thoughts, words and deeds
… by striving for establishing peace and harmony even in conflicting situations
… by accepting suffering and becoming stronger in our struggle to establish God’s Kingdom
This Feast day is a chance for us to sneak into the personal diary of the saints…
… and to “steal” some tips for us to admire and imitate them…
The Saints’ Favourite Food: The Holy Eucharist
The Saints’ Favourite Dress: The Armour of Faith
The Saints’ Favourite Pastime: Doing anything with immense love of God
The Saints’ Favourite Symbol: The Holy Cross
The Saints’ Favourite Moments: Every time they discovered more the depth of God’s Love
The Church has a marvellous number of saints who are canonized.
On this special day, we also take our time, to raise our hearts in gratitude, for the many other holy men and women, who sparkle with sanctity, but have not been officially declared so.
>> A few may be known to us, in our family or friends circle…
But most of them, will remain unknown and unfamiliar and unheard.
But in the Lord’s presence, they dazzle and shine, in holiness and purity.
This galaxy of Saints beckon and encourage each one of us today to tread this path of holiness.
As St Augustine says, ” Do you aspire to do great things? Begin with the little ones”
…Doing our simple works with much love of God.
…Living our Christian life with much faithfulness
….Seeing the deep presence of God in all areas of our life.
Let us live a life…
… of self-sacrifice, renunciation and trust in God
… seeking to do God’s will at all times
… laced with the tender Love of God in all our activities.
Today, all the saints in heaven, with a loud chorus invite each one of us:
“Come, dear Child…Be a Saint!
Do not be afraid! We are with you!”
What is our response?
Happy Feast to all the Saints in Heaven…the Church Triumphant!
>> Happy Feast to all the faithful departed, being purged to be saints… the Church Suffering!
>> Happy Feast to all of us, striving to be saints, here on earth…the Church Militant!
God Bless! Live Jesus!