All Saints Day: Three Shades of Holy

Today we celebrate all the saints of God: those of who, like all Christians, are called to be holy, as well as those Saints of the calendar remembered as exceptional examples of holiness and held up as Christian models and our heavenly prayer partners. In our sacred languages, the words for holy or saint are instructive, and I will submit that each shows a different shade of what we are called to be.

The Latin sanctus indicates being called out and separated, being a cut above. The Hebrew kadosh implies doing what is right. And the Greek agios, suggests a vision of health, wholeness, and completeness. In our baptism, we are called into the Church, receive a Christian name, and are raised to a new life; and in confirmation, we are commissioned to begin our life of mature faith, trying to fulfill tthe joyful, if impossible command, to “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” So we are called into the family of faith, schooled in doing what is right and just, and thereby we become more holy, more fully conformed to the image of Christ.

The Apostles Creed, coming to us from the end of the first century, celebrates the “Communion of Saints,” the flow of God’s people through history and of which we are a part. Traditionally we have spoken of the Church Militant on earth, the Church Expectant in purgatory, and the Church Triumphant in heaven. We are all together on that journey in solidarity with those who have gone before and those who are to come,

Like any journey, the journey to holiness needs a road map. That map is called the Beatitudes, the new law of love given us by the Saviour. Do consult it and seek to live it. The love of God and neighbour is what we are indeed all about, and we live that life in quiet confidence that God is with all his saints for all time.

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