God has a sense of humor. If you do not believe me, look at the list of Patron Saints and their stories. For instance, St. Denis, Patron Saint of Headaches, had his head cut clean off and walked a mile preaching with it in his hands. Let’s be honest; if you can think about it, there is probably a patron saint for it. Do you like to frequent your local coffeehouse? St. Drogo. Are you afraid of Caterpillars? St. Magnus. Often find yourself jumping into and exploring caves? St. Benedict. Some saints were horrible people before their conversion. I’m looking at you, St. Olaf (not to be confused with the Snowman from Frozen). Other saints, like St. Isidore the Farmer, led completely normal lives just doing their thing by following God’s will.
In reading the lives of the more well-known saints, one can have the opposite attitude of St. Ignatius of Loyola and say, “There is no way I can do what they did!” or “I am not Holy enough,” and then simply give up. (by the way, St Ignatius read the lives of the saints and went, “Psh I can do that”…and he did). All Saints Day is a day for us to celebrate the lives of not just the well-known saints, not just even those with the “St.” in front of their name, but it is a celebration of every single person in heaven. Your spiritual BFFs. This means on All Saints Day, we celebrate the feast day of our own friends and family who are in heaven. These ordinary people with who you share a bloodline with have a feast day in the Church. St. Jose Maria Esqruiva once said, “A Saint is a sinner that keeps trying.” The stories of the lives of the saints are not meant to discourage us from a life of faith, but instead give us the confidence we need to see how God’s mercy and forgiveness works in an unlimited amount of ways.
Would it be sweet to bilocate like Padre Pio…yes. Would it be great to ace your tests without studying like St. Joseph of Cupertino…for sure! But remember, there is so much more to each of these saints than what is written about them in a paragraph or two when you type them into google. These are people that lived full lives. They experienced the ups and downs of life, probably not that much different from yourself. They did not have that euphoric camp high experience constantly throughout their lives. St. Teresa of Avila, who experienced every emotion when it came to her faith and struggled mightily in prayer, once told Jesus after experiencing yet another trial, “If this is how you treat your friends, then no wonder you have so few.”
So what ties them all together? What connects these seemingly unique sets of personalities spread out across time? It is the one thing that connects past, present, and future. It is the very thing we do to commemorate this feast day. We partake in a meal in which God’s life is given to us, together in heaven and on earth. If you were to ask any of the saints how they were able to do what they did, they would chuckle and ask don’t you understand? It is quite simple. They would follow the example of what Mary, Queen of the Saints, would do and point to Jesus. Now, go celebrate our good friend St. Drogo and have a good cup of joe, and with that added caffeine boost, continue your own saint story.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash