Saints: Who They Are and Who They Aren't.

The Solemnity of All Saints.

Lessons from the proper, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:

• Revelation 7: 2-4, 9-14.
• Psalm 24: 1-6.
• I John 3: 1-3.
• Matthew 5: 1-12.

The First Class Feast of All Saints.

Lessons from the proper, according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:

• Apocalypse 7: 2-12.
• Psalm 33: 10-11.
• Matthew 5: 1-12.

The Twenty-Fourth Tuesday after Pentecost; and, the Feast of the Holy Unmercenary Wonder-Workers Cosmas & Damian.*

First & third lessons from the pentecostarion, second & fourth from the menaion, according to the Ruthenian recension of the Byzantine Rite:

• II Thessalonians 1: 10—2: 2.
• Ephesians 6: 10-17.
• Luke 11: 42-46.
• Matthew 10: 16-22.

8:32 AM 11/1/2016 — It is one of the forgotten teachings of our faith is that everyone is called to be a saint. Of course, it was our Lord who first said that. We don't respond to it because of the way we've mystified the saints. We romanticize their lives so much that we almost turn them into gods and goddesses to worship instead of examples to follow. But the message of the Gospel is that we are called to be saints. Holiness is for everyone: the father and husband as well as the priest, the wife and mother as well as the nun. There is no one who is not meant by God to be a saint.
     Not too many years ago our late Holy Father, Saint John Paul II, canonized a man whom I think is one of our Church's greatest saints, Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá, founder of the lay organization Opus Dei. He was a priest, but he dedicated his life to showing lay people how to become saints. Saint Francis de Sales dedicated his life to the same task. And it's a hard thing to do, because so many people think that in order to be holy you have to be stuffy, boring, grave, prudish, and basically strange. Even piety by itself has little to do with genuine sanctity—people who spend their time beating their breasts, or pining away in front of statues, or praying endless Rosaries are not necessarily holier thereby. Those things can be aids to holiness, certainly; but holiness itself is something much more substantive. Living the Gospel, bearing witness to it by example—prayer, yes, but not prayers rattled off by rote; prayer to achieve union with God, prayer that focuses on the Eucharist as the center of our lives. Most important of all, the realization that God wants us to perform the tasks of our state in life as a means of sanctifying the world.
     One of the greatest victories of the Devil in our time was convincing people who are inclined toward religiosity that they achieve holiness either by some sort of volunteerism or by pursuing a pseudo-clerical "ministry," as if good works by themselves constitute holiness. If we want to serve the Church in holiness it is by participating in it's mission to sanctify the world by fostering an interior life, by going to confession frequently, by learning to unite ourselves to our Lord in prayer, by constantly seeking out the Blessed Eucharist as a source of grace and an amour against immorality, and by fulfilling all the obligations of our state in life: by keeping a Christian home, by raising children in the faith, by becoming living examples of the Gospel at home, in the place where we work, among our friends. This is service to Christ and His Church, and this is holiness.
     So, let us approach this Solemnity of All Saints with the realization that each of us, ultimately, is supposed to be one of them, always remembering that, while it is important to pray for the intercession of the saints, it is more important to follow their example.

* Cosmas and Damian were born in Asia and devoted their lives to healing the sick. They are called "unmercenary" because they never accepted payment for their medical services. They were martyred in the beginning of the fourth century under Emperor Maximianus; however, inasmuch as they died in Syria, it's possible they were killed because the science of medicine was well advanced throughout Arabia and was a lucrative profession for many educated Arabs who wouldn't have appreciated any competitors who gave away their services for free.