Today we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints. We not only honor those men and women who have received from the Church the official title of “saint,” but all the holy men and women of ages past, to the present day, who are now one with God in the Kingdom of Heaven. We know them, for they have been a part of our life’s journey. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, co-workers, friends, and many others. These are the ones who have had an impact on our lives, and helped us by their example, to become faithful and faith-filled followers of Jesus Christ.
So, how does one become a saint?
Once there was a young man by the name of Simon, who wished to live a holy life. He decided to model himself on Francis of Assisi. He was deadly serious about it. He had only one goal in life—to turn himself in a copy of Francis of Assisi.
Years went by. There was no doubt but that outwardly at least he had made progress. His friends jokingly referred to him as a St. Francis look-alike. Yet he wasn’t happy. In his unhappiness he went to consult a wise old monk by the name of Barnabas. Barnabas listened patiently as Simon poured out his story.
When he had finished, Barnabas said, “You have chosen a good model. An excellent model. But a model is not a mold into which we pour ourselves. A model is a spur to help us be true to what is within us, to what is given to us and only to us. Simon, you have been living outside yourself. You have been playing a part written for another.”
“The most important task in life is to become ourselves. Unless we become ourselves, no growth, no happiness, no holiness is possible. But when we become ourselves, then everything about us becomes real and true. Francis of Assisi became a saint, not be becoming someone else, but by becoming his true and full self.”
“Simon, when you come before the Lord on the Day of Judgment, he won’t ask you, ‘Why didn’t you become Francis of Assisi?’ He will ask you, ‘Why didn’t you become what Simon was intended to be?”
To become a saint one does not have to be an ascetic, or even serious and solemn. One has to be oneself! Saints help us to do this. They cause the vision of a higher and purer life to rise up before us. They inspire us to try to discover the fullness of who God has created each one of us to be.
Saints are like a mirror. Looking at them, reflecting on their lives, we see what we could be. In them we see human beings at their best and brightest. They are our examples, teachers, and advocates.
Whatever our path in life, what really matters is that we should be ourselves, our unique selves, the best that we can be, the kind of person God created us to be. God invites us to grow from the seed that has been planted within. It sprouts slowly on the journey, and with God’s grace it grows to fruition, bringing us home to the Kingdom of heaven.
And so, on this great feast, as we continue on the journey, we humbly ask: All you holy men and women, pray for us!
— Fr. Dennis, November 1, 2020