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A Month For Saints

by Rev. Raymond Petrucci

This month begins with a celebration of the heroes and heroines of the Church. November the first is the Feast of All Saints. This Holy Day of Obligation honors all the men and women who have served God and the Church through lives of holiness. It is well to note that many of these revered figures of the Church have turned from lives of iniquity to embrace lives of sanctity. Throughout the millennia, the biographies of the saints reveal that their gifts of faith have been made manifest not only on a grant scale, but also in the humblest manner. I find it encouraging that these role models of faith have provided so many ways of being "other Christs."

November the second is the Feast of All Souls. This day is devoted to remembering in prayer all those who have died. As one may expect, the deceased of one's family and of one's friends become the primary focus of the day. We pray that our beloved dead may be with God in heaven. It is also an occasion for recalling what their lives have meant to us and how their lives have touched others. On this somewhat somber yet hopeful day, we pray that these souls have been purified of their sins and have come to the fullness of life with the saints. We pray that they have become saints. Is that not the title given to one who has achieved eternal life in heaven? Therefore, we are all called to become saints. Perhaps we will never have our names inscribed in the liturgical calendar, but we were created to become saints nonetheless.

How do we respond to the challenge of becoming a saint? In my opinion, it requires us to make a fundamental decision to live a life in cooperation with God's grace. In the words of the philosopher, Blaise Pascal, "Grace is indeed required to turn a man into a saint; and he who doubts this does not know what either a man or a saint is." Although we may create a strategy envisioning this growth in grace over weeks, months or years, we live second by second. The principles that operate in our conscience every step of the way determines the results of our living. The thoughts we entertain, the acts we perform, and the words we speak reflect that fundamental decision. It is factual that a good person may on occasion do a wrong thing and that a bad person may on occasion do a good thing, but the overall course and impact of their lives will reflect a choice for or against God's grace.

The feast of All Saints and the Feast of All Souls celebrate the lives of those that have gone before us. They are great role models for all of us.

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