It is clear today that, for young people, saints are fascinating—think of Francis of Assisi and José of Anchieta, Juan Diego and Theresa of the Child Jesus, Rose of Lima and Bakhita, Kisito and Maria Goretti, Father Kolbe and Mother Theresa and the theatrical works, films, comic strips, recitals, concerts and musicals that re-create their stories. Their example calls each Christian to be a pilgrim on the pathway of beauty, truth, good, in journeying to the Celestial Jerusalem where we will contemplate the beauty of God in a relation full of love, face-to-face. “There, we will rest and we will see; we will see and we will love, we will love and we will praise. Such will be the end, without end.” (The Via Pulchritudinis, III.1)
We need the examples of saints, holy men and women who have gone before us and point the way to our heavenly homeland. Their lives are encouraging examples for us who daily struggle on the “narrow road.”
At times the Christian life can be discouraging and often we can feel alone. We are tempted to despair each time we fall and think to ourselves that we will never become a saint or ever get to Heaven. At best we hope that God will go easy on us and let us squeak by at the last second.
The good news is that if we look at the lives of the saints, we are bound to find a “brother” or “sister” saint who was very much like us. They struggled with the same struggles and grew-up in similar circumstances.
When we develop a relationship with these saints and grow deeper in our love of them, the closer our heart will be drawn into the heart of Christ.
The Virgin Mary and the saints are the luminous reflection and attractive witness of the singular beauty of Christ, beauty of infinite love of God who gives Himself and makes Himself known to men. These reflect, each according to their manner, as prisms of a crystal, faces of a diamond, contours of a rainbow, the light and original beauty of the God of Love; man’s holiness is participation in the holiness of God and by it His beauty. When this is fully welcomed into the heart and spirit, it illuminates and guides the lives of men and women in their daily actions. (The Via Pulchritudinis, III.3)
This is why Saint John Paul II beatified 1,340 people and canonized 483 saints. He wanted to show the world that sanctity is possible and to provide for us a wide array of men and women to follow. Whether we are married, single, or religious, holiness is possible for all states of life.
As we celebrate All Saints Day, let us invoke the intercession of the saints and walk in their footsteps, allowing the light of Christ to shine brightly within us.
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