HAPPY FEAST DAY EVERYONE!
You mean me too? Yes, I do. Oh, I’m not attempting to canonize everyone; I’ll leave that up to higher officials of the Church. I’m just sharing a greeting that was often used in the writings of early church scholars, including, too, some writers of scripture. Read carefully and in some of the writings of the New Testament Paul and the others often addressed the faithful as ‘the holy ones’ and what is a saint other than a holy one. Right!
Do you know any saints? I’m sure you do. Who are some of the people you know or have known that you think of as belonging to that number of ‘holy ones’? Are any of your neighbors saints? Stop and think of them and I think you might end up including more than a few of present neighbors or those of past years as really being holy in the way they lived their every day life. And isn’t that what we’re supposed to do: live your faith, show kindness and charity to those around you. Be just and merciful in how you judge others?
Let me share with you just one example of a woman from the first day I met her until the last she breathed on this earth as being a saint. Her name of Mary. I met her when I was named pastor of three small parishes in Livingston County back in the seventies. Mary lived in the little village of Retsof (Foster spelled backwards). I was primarily made up primarily of people of Italian descent and many native born Italians.
Mary came to daily Mass every day. Never missed. In fact she was the one who unlocked the church every morning, set up everything for Mass and on days when it snowed, she was the one who shoveled the walk in front of the church. For years no one ever questioned this. I guess I was the first. You see, Mary was in her mid to late eighties when I first met her and that first winter when I realized she was the one who shoveled the walk I had a little talk with Mary and tried to convince her that I would shovel the walk. After all Mary had fifty years on me.
It didn’t make any difference. No matter how I tried to get to church ahead of her she already y had it shoveled and was kneeling in the back pew saying her first rosary of the day. “Oh Father, she would say, you can’t shovel the snow, you’re a priest.”
And not only had that Mary had what we probably the best vegetable garden in the whole town. She and her husband Jim worked every day keeping things watered and hoed. She was also the one who supplied me with fresh vegetables and fruit.
So why wouldn’t I think of Mary as a saint. A few times I made her blush when I would call her ‘Saint Mary’ But you see, the point is that there are a whole lot of saints all around us. God put them there to help make us saints too! Maybe that’s how they earn their heavenly crowns.
I’ll try to share a few reflections on the Sundays later this month of All the Saints, some you may never have heard of and will be surprised that they ever existed.