All Saints (November 1)
When our two sons were about 8 and 12 years old, the younger one, Patrick, came home from school one day and announced to the older one, Drew: “I was named after a saint, and you were named after the past tense of a verb.”
This is the same younger son whom I once overheard say to a new friend: “My mom is a doctor but not the kind who can do you any good.”
Patrick is now in his 20s and he is still learning to live into his sainthood.
As all of us are.
We may find this to be a daunting proposition. Sainthood, after all, seems to suggest sinlessness, or at least a singlemindedness of devotion or piety or virtue that we could never muster. And maybe it conjures humorless, holier-than-thou-ness.
“Sainthood” might also remind us how small and disappointing our own lives can seem. We know ourselves: our worst impulses, choices we regret, hurts we have inflicted. We know how judgmental we can be. How petty or prideful or preoccupied with a thousand things other than the way of Jesus.
We know that our faith is often shaky—something we can barely admit to ourselves, let alone to others, let alone to God.
And our calling is to be saints? Read more