You are called by God to be a saint! And that all important calling from the Lord is not just to be seriously considered on All Saints Day – but every day!
It is no coincidence that the Catholic Church proclaims the Gospel passage of the Beatitudes on the Solemnity of All Saints. For in this most wonderful teaching from the Son of God, we are shown the way to holiness, to blessedness, to joyfulness.
Situated in St. Matthew’s Gospel within the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes chart a sure course on how to be “blessed,” that is, how to be joyful!
The deeply spiritual scientist and theologian Jesuit Father Teilhard de Chardin said, “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”
In our hearts, you and I long for joy, that joy to the full that Jesus promises us, the joy that only he can give us. And the Beatitudes teach us the way!
And so it is that when we are “poor in spirit” — totally trusting and dependent on God; when we allow God to comfort us when we “mourn”; when we are “meek” – living with gentle strength; when we “hunger and thirst for righteousness” — striving to live in right relationship with God, all others and ourselves; when we are “merciful” to all; when we are “clean of heart” — thinking, feeling and acting with purity and honesty; when we are “peacemakers” — praying and working for peace within ourselves, within our families, within our nation and within our world; and when we are persecuted for faithfully living out these Beatitudes, let us “rejoice and be glad” for our reward will be great in heaven! (see: Matt. 5:1-12).
Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation “Gaudete et Exsultate” (Rejoice and be Glad) urges us to apply the Beatitudes to the life and death situations facing our world.
He writes, “Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection.
“We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.”
Daily I receive in my inbox the “Saint of the Day” from Franciscan Media. I always find the brief biography and refection interesting and inspiring.
Blessed are those who live the Beatitudes, for they are experiencing a wonderful taste of heaven right here on earth!
Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.