Everyday Saints – Br. Lain Wilson

All Saints’ Day

Revelation 7:9-17
Matthew 5:1-12

I had a tough day yesterday.

Not that anything was particularly bad; everything just seemed slightly off. I felt like I wasn’t able to see things head on. I couldn’t wrap my head around what needed to be done, I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t seem to stay on top of things. I had to sit down, take a breath, and say to God, “I need something. I don’t know what I need, but I need something, just to get me through to the next thing.”

It was just one of those tough days. I’m sure you’ve had one or two of those yourselves.

But it was also a day that felt completely self-indulgent. With so much going on, here and around the world, with so much pain and suffering, who am I to complain about an off day? Surely it’s better to acknowledge my own struggle and move on to praying for these bigger issues. I had a tough day, but so many people are having tougher ones.

I’m sure you’ve felt this way, too.

Yesterday was a tough day.

And yesterday reveals why today is so important.

When we are surrounded by windows of saints, when we listen day by day to their stories, we naturally come to see these saints as exceptional figures. And they are; of course they are. They stand out as examples of what it means to be a Christian, of what it means to follow Jesus’s way of love. On this feast of All Saints, we particularly celebrate them.

But, sometimes, I find these saints so daunting. I can’t, like Saint Ignatius, hear their stories and say to myself, “hey, I can do that, too.” I’d like to say that I could, but if I’m having this hard a time just getting through one tough day, what hope do I have that I could imitate these great athletes of faith?

This is why today, the feast of All Saints, is so important. Because we aren’t just celebrating the intellect of Augustine, the miracles of Nicholas, the asceticism of Antony, or the self-denial of Francis. We aren’t remembering the stories and witness of just individual saints, but also of “the great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” (Rev 7:9). Among these are Augustine and Nicholas and Antony and Francis, for sure, but also the unnamed, unknown, and unacknowledged. Everyday saints who faced a tough day and responded with quiet, confident, persistent faith. Faith that their getting through that tough day was an act of witness to the love of God.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers. Jesus doesn’t quantify or set thresholds. Blessed are those who mourn great and small losses. Blessed are those who broker peace on the global stage and around the dinner table. Jesus calls us to respond to whatever life gives, whether it seems earth-shattering or insignificant, with the quiet, confident, persistent faith that what we do in this life and how we do it matter—that there is a connection between this life and the next.

The feast of All Saints reminds us that Christ’s body on earth and in heaven, the Church and the saints, are not separate but are continuous; that we are reaching toward the saints in imitating their lives, and that they are reaching toward us in prayer. It gives us hope that the heavenly vision of the saints, who see God as God is, will be our vision. And it invites us to trust that God will be there with us through whatever we suffer—that God will shelter us and wipe away every tear from our eyes. That God will be there even when—perhaps, especially when—we’re just having a tough day.

Amen.

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1 Comments

  1. Randy none LaRosa on November 4, 2023 at 12:39

    Wonderful ideas here and a huge help. I will be leading Morning prayer tomorrow and will be speaking on All Saints and All Souls .This is a huge help in my preparation. Thank you so much .I still wear the SSJE copper medal with Blessed John on one side and Mary Mother and child on the other issued to me 40 years ago.

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