Homily for All Saints Day
November 1, 2009
St. Barnabas 5pm and 7:30 am
It’s interesting the way that we celebrate Halloween before All Saints Day. What makes it possible for us to celebrate, delight in, and laugh at Horror? One of the scariest things that we are facing right now is the Swine Flu and what do you think the number one costume is? Swine Flu. Followed by Michael Jackson, President Obama, Vampires, and Witches. What enables us to laugh at something so scary? It is the realization that we will survive. Sickness and even death is not the end, they are not the final answer.
Revelations declares “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress.” What enables us to go on in life despite it’s horrors is that others have made it through.
Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
Bill W. began the first support group in 1935 in
I went to a meeting to see for myself this group of freaks or bums who had done this thing. To go into a gathering of people was the sort of thing that all my life, from the time I left my private world of books and dreams to meet the real world of people and parties and jobs, had left me feeling an uncomfortable outsider, needing the warming stimulus of drinks to join in. I went trembling into a house in
That was the beginning of a new life, a fuller life, a happier life than I had ever known or believed possible. I had found friends, understanding friends who often knew what I was thinking and feeling better than I knew myself, and didn't allow me to retreat into my prison of loneliness and fear over a fancied slight or hurt. Talking things over with them, great floods of enlightenment showed me myself as I really was and I was like them. We all had hundreds of character traits, of fears and phobias, likes and dislikes, in common. Suddenly I could accept myself, faults and all, as I was—for weren't we all like that? And, accepting, I felt a new inner comfort, and the willingness and strength to do something about the traits I couldn't live with.
It didn't stop there. They knew what to do about those black abysses that yawned ready to swallow me when I felt depressed, or nervous.
Sometimes the saints seem like a group of “group of freaks or bums” that we couldn’t possibly relate to. However, when I read the lives of the Saints and their writings and pray with them I discover that they have been through a lot of what I go through. In the Saints I find friends, understanding friends who often know what I’m thinking and feeling better than I know myself. They have faced the struggles and difficulties and temptations… and they have survived! Not only do they give us encouragement but they also are with us to guide us and guard us.
Here are some of my favorite sayings of Saints who have survived the times of great distress…
Julian of Norwich reminds me very simply and strongly:
All shall be well
"Have no fear for what tomorrow may bring. The same loving God who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and ever day. God will either shield you from all suffering or give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations"
Faustina couldn’t say it any simpler and more powerful:
Jesus I trust in you
My heart is restless until it rests in thee
St. John Vianney reminds me how simple prayer can be:
“I look at the good God and the Good God looks at me.”
Nothing is small the eyes of God. Do all things you do with love.
St. Teresa of
Let nothing trouble you
Let nothing frighten you
God never changes
Whoever has god
Wants for nothing
God alone is enough.
Have Patience with all things, but first of all with yourself.
Teach us, good Lord, to serve Thee as Though deservest;
To give and not count the cost;
To fight and not to heed the wounds;
To toil and not seek for rest;
To labor and not ask for any reward
Save that of knowing that we do thy will.”
The Best way to prepare for death is to spend every day of life as though it were the last.
Do now; do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die.
Hope always draws the mind from what is seen to what is beyond.
A friend is long sought, hardly found, and kept only with difficulty.
He reminds me to seek out these saintly men and women both on heaven and earth who have walked through the difficulties and are there to help and support me.
Revelations declares “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress.” The saints are there for us to help us on the journey and to inspire us. It’s long been in our tradition that we can look to them for inspiration and that they can intercede for us and walk with us on the journey.
Begin by learning about them and getting to know them and their lives. Here are some books from simple to more in depth that can help inspire you:
All Shall Be Well: Hope and Inspiration from Great Catholic Thinkers. Jane Cavolina.
My Life with the Saints. James Martin.
The saints remind us of the victory that Christ has won for us. They help us to laugh in the face of death and embrace the crosses with joy.