Yesterday was All Saints’ Day, the day we celebrate the known and unknown saints that came before us. It’s also the day that we remember we’re all saints in the making.
Remembering the saints in our midst
All Saints Day is about remembering the people who provided us with examples of holy living. Many of us are familiar with canonized saints like St. Francis, St. Augustine, St. Patrick, St. Anne, etc. But All Saints Day is set aside to honor all saints, both known and unknown.
In other words, All Saints Day is also about remembering lesser-known Christians (or saints) who have impacted our lives and taught us about holy living.
For example, I remember my grandfather as a saint because he taught me about self-sacrifice and generosity. Raised in poverty, he knew what it was like to be a humiliated child with holes in the bottoms of his shoes. He was never a rich man, but he made sure that all of his grandchildren had new school shoes each fall and Easter shoes in the spring.
“Saint Bob” understood the heart of a child and put aside his own needs to be as generous as he could be. On his death bed, he didn’t talk about himself, but made conversation with me about my time at college. He even asked if I needed anything. His care and concern for others — particularly children — was an example of holy living.
We are all saints in the making
It’s been said that not all saints started out well, but they ended well. So maybe there is hope for us yet — we can all be saints in the making.
We’re not perfect. But the saints that came before us weren’t perfect, either. They acknowledged they were flawed and allowed God’s divine grace to change them and mold them into new creations.
Hebrews 11 provides a litany of Old Testament saints from Abraham to Rahab who eventually flourished and succeeded because they “lived by faith.” None of them started well. They were murders, liars, adulterers and prostitutes.
They had real problems. But they were also faith-filled people who pursued God despite their mistakes and shortcomings. They didn’t start well, but they ended well and Hebrews 12:1-2 refers to them as examples of holy living. Their lives encourage us to persevere in faith and service.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Most of us will never be canonized. And like the saints that came before us we all have flaws. We’ve all made mistakes. But as people of faith, there’s hope that we can still end well and be saintly examples of holy living to future generations.