On this feast of All Saints, I look at the time at the top of my computer screen as I type and find that it is – ironically – 9:11 a.m. Last night the winds were howling (How fitting for Halloween) and rain was pelting on our windows late into the night. Thinking of California as I lay awake, how I wished that we could stop the wind and send the rain to put out the fires there! I have a feeling of devastation that is different from 9/11/2001 but still catastrophic as I pray for the safety of our Sisters of the Los Angeles province and all of the people on the news whose houses have been reduced to ashes.
With all of that in mind, I turn to Scripture readings for the day where I find “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress” from the Book of Revelation. That sounds a little like today so then I ask myself, “Who are the saints of today?” I am quick to answer: “First responders.” But I can’t stop there. The networks of people who step up at catastrophic moments are legion and then there are the everyday saints who respond to their neighbors as a matter of course, wherever there is a need. See today’s gospel for the Beatitudes as an explanation of that kind of sainthood. (MT 5: 1-12)
We have our favorite canonized saints, of course: Francis and Clare, Therese and Teresa…and even some named in our own lifetime now – Pope Saint John XXIII, etc. On this day, however, my prayer list is wide and long of good people that I celebrate and for whom I give praise and gratitude to God. Why not share their names if you know them and pray to or for them, as the case may be? Maybe you will hear your own name coming back at you from this “great cloud of witnesses.”