It’s November, that month in which the saints go marching into our consciousness in all kinds of touching ways. I suspect that Jim Becker’s beautiful Litany of the Saints is finding its way into the Sunday liturgy. Invoking the saints isn’t just for the Easter Vigil anymore.
What a comfort it is to know that we’ve got friends in high places. From the earliest years of the Christian faith, believers have had a certain surety that those who had gone before them (particularly through the sword of martyrdom) were still in communion with them.
The month begins with the celebration of the saints, and then immediately remembers all the souls who have gone before us to God. Most people have a certain sense that we are not alone in this universe, that we are accompanied, as Hebrews says, by a “vast cloud of witnesses” (12:1,2). There is something in us that innately reaches out to those whose lives on earth were awash in God, and we call to them when we feel our lives on earth intersecting with theirs.
The patron saints of all of our earthly travails—lost faith, lost health, lost keys—have been so identified because there was something in their lives, on one side or the other side of heaven, that gained some victory over these earthly enemies.
Imagine what that day will be like when we have arrived joyfully in heaven, to be met by the smiles of the martyrs and our own beloved dead, who loved us on both sides of the grave. Until then we live in the mystery of their presence with us here. All you holy men and women, pray for us!
Are you close to your patron saint?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).