By Tony Magliano
Although the recent celebration of All Saints Day (Nov. 1) has come and gone, God’s personal invitation to you to strive for holiness continues. God is calling you to be a saint!
And Lord knows, our wounded world needs saints. Not next week, not next month, not next year, but now is the time humanity needs every Christian to faithfully walk in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus – just like thousands of canonized saints and countless little-known saints have done – and are doing right now.
But you may say, “Who me, a saint?” You bet! Yes, you and I are called to be holy saints.
In the Second Vatican Counsel’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Nos. 39, 40) the world’s Catholic bishops solemnly declared “In the church, everyone … is called to holiness.”
During All Saints Day, Pope Francis, reflecting on the Gospel reading of the Beatitudes, said that the Beatitudes serve as a “identity card” for the saints.
While pointing out that the saints did not live “perfect” and “precise” lives, nonetheless, he emphasized that by striving to follow the demands of the Beatitudes, the saints lived radically “countercultural” and “revolutionary” lives!
Calling particular attention to the peace Beatitude of Jesus: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God,” Pope Francis said that “Peace is not achieved by conquering or defeating someone, it is never violent, it is never armed.”
In further developing the Gospel call to be peacemakers, the Holy Father said that our first step is to disarm the heart by standing before Jesus’ Cross with openness to him, and by going to Confession to receive his “forgiveness and peace.”
Pope Francis said that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, in urging us to act as peacemakers, calls us to understand that building peace requires that we work nonviolently to oppose injustice, care for those at the margins, and forgive everyone.
The Holy Father added that “Those who love everyone and hurt no one win.”
Yes, the world needs saints!
Our hurting world needs Christians who are committed to being the very body of Christ on earth – saints.
As St. Teresa of Avila said so beautifully, “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks [with] compassion on this world. Yours are feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
Imagine if you and I, and every person who professes to be a Christian, decided with the power of the Holy Spirit, to be the body of Christ. Imagine if every disciple of Christ decided to think, feel, pray, speak, and act as Christ did when he walked the earth.
Just imagine what good could be realized if every Christian would commit to becoming a saint.
Blessed Pope John Paul I – the saintly smiling pope – said, “If all the sons and daughters of the Church would know how to be tireless missionaries of the Gospel, a new flowering of holiness and renewal would spring up in this world that thirsts for love and for truth.”
Tony Magliano (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist and speaker. He is not a member of the AUSCP. His point of view is his own and not necessarily that of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests.