November is the month in which we pray for those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith. Some of these are known only to us, but some stretch across history and are well known and well remembered. These famous ones are what we call “saints”. Writer Robert Ellsberg penned this thoughtful reflection about the power of the Communion of the Saints:
“These people reminds us that we are all called to holiness, and they help us see that it can be done. So we look gratefully to the holy ones of the past, people of all kinds whom we call “saints”. There are also people of holiness who are not well known but we know them. They are good people and truly holy. They may be mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, maybe just good friends.
None of these “saints”, whether known to the whole world, or known only to us, were perfect; they were human beings who simply lived the particular path to holiness to which they were called.
That is why, although all of us are called to holiness, none of us is called to be a carbon copy of any saint.
For each of us there is a path to holiness: a path that only I can walk; a path that lies within the individual circumstances of my life; a path that unfolds from my own choices; a path that engages my own particular talents and temperaments; a path that contends with my own strengths and weaknesses; a path that responds to the needs of the people in my own life at my own particular moment in history.
For each of us there is a path to holiness that only you and I can walk. It is ultimately a new path, for the circumstances of each life are different. We create that path, not by stepping aside and designing it. We create that path by simply walking it one step at a time, without always knowing a map of the entire path. And if we take it one step at a time and keep to this path, one day we will wander home, and be overwhelmed and healed and purified by the love that awaits us.” Living our life is the pathway to Heaven. Fr. Anthony