In our present culture, All Saints Day (November 1st) seems to be overshadowed by Halloween (All Hallows Eve) on October 31st. In a short video, Fr. Martin, SJ explains both days as well as states how All Saints Day celebrates not only the famous saints who have gone before us into Heaven, but also other less known holy individuals who have made it there. He states that “being holy means being who we are”.
Becoming a saint may seem impossible at times or it may seem difficult to relate when looking at saints such as St. Joan of Arc who dressed up like a boy, defended her country, and died burning at a stake while filled with the love of God. However, the universal call to holiness and to joining all those who are now in Heaven does not mean that something “big” has to be accomplished in one’s life. Rather, like St. Therese the Little Flower demonstrated, it is about doing “ordinary things with extraordinary love”. It is about striving to do all for Jesus and to do His will, depending on Him for grace for to love more like Him requires Him, being a good Christian witness, and turning to Him like a child after a fall to be picked back up and healed.
There is a saint for everyone. There are countless men and women who have made it to Heaven who can offer us inspiration and encouragement by not only the lives they have led but also by their prayers to God. St. Gianna Berreta Molla was a physician, wife, and mother in Italy who was known for her self-forgetful and generous love and who died in 1962 a few days after giving birth to her fourth child. Having a premonition about the trouble that lay ahead, she told her husband, “If you have to decide between me and the child, do not hesitate; I demand it, the child, save it”. Blessed Chiara ‘Luce” Badano (on the way to becoming canonized a saint) was an ordinary, beautiful, and fun-loving girl who was diagnosed with bone cancer as a teenager leading to an even deeper conversion. Instead of despairing, she believed that Jesus sent her this illness for a reason, walked with drug dependent girls while she was at the hospital instead of resting, and stated “for you Jesus” when she lost her hair. She saw God’s will in each aspect of her illness and planned her own funeral to look like a wedding ceremony. She died in 1990 at the age of 19 with her last words to her mother being, “Goodbye. Be happy because I am happy.”
Whether recognized as one or not, God desires each person to become a saint if only one allows God to accomplish this great work. In the words of St. Ignatius Loyola, “Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.” May each person say with Jesus to God the Father, “Thy will be done”.