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Friday, November 1, 2013

Reflection on the Readings for Today's Feast of All Saints

"He said to me, 'These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made the white in the Blood of the Lamb.' " (Revelation 7:14)

"Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:2)

"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in Heaven." (Matthew 5: 10-12)

These three Scripture passages come from the three readings for today's Feast of All Saints'. With so much causing a great divide in our country today, I found much hope & promise in these readings.

Every day, we are inundated with reports about the many attacks on religious freedom, Obama-"care" (I place care in quotes, but I don't believe he cares one iota for what happens to those who don't agree w/ him), Common Core Standards indoctrinating the youth in our country's schools, & so much more. I don't need to go into detail on any of these because you can Google (or whatever search engine you use) to find ample information on each one. (I encourage you to do so, esp. w/ the upcoming election. Be an informed voter!)

It can be so easy to become overwhelmed by all these attacks on our faith & human dignity. What gets me through it all is the hope in God's promises to His people. He never said it would be easy to follow Him. However, He has promised us everlasting peace & joy in His Heavenly Kingdom.

We have only to look at the saints who've gone before us. Through their faith & perseverance, they lead by example of what it is to follow Christ. Even through pain & suffering or facing persecution & death, they never turned away from God & His promises.

* St. Stephen...Stoned to death for his faith, he was the first marytr.
* St. Lawrence...a martyr w/ a sense of humor. While placed on a gridiron by the Romans, it's been said that he cried out, "Turn me over for I think I'm done on this side."
* St. Joan of Arc...burned at the stake by the British for saving her country (France)
* St. Dorothy...After her parents had been martyred, the soldiers came for her. Several of those put in place to encourage her to turn from God were converted themselves due to the strength & example of her faith. 
* St. Isaac Jogues... missionary to the Indians, martyred by tomahawk & scalping
* St. Paul Miki & companions...Some three & a half centuries before the atomic bomb hit Nagasaki Japan, they were crucified on a hill for teaching the doctrine of Christ, even from their crosses.
* St. Gianna Beretta Molla...(a modern saint) Faced w/ cancer during her fourth pregnancy, she chose not to abort her baby to save herself. Several days after her baby was born, St. Gianna died.

Faith and Perseverance! 
These saints & so many others have become such wonderful examples for us to follow. 

I encourage you, today & throughout the month of November, to learn more about the many saints of our Faith. Call upon them to intercede for you, your family, your friends, & your country. There are patron saints for so many things. 

Do you have a love of music? Ask St. Cecilia to pray for you. 
Do you have an urge to help the poor? Ask for St. Francis & St. Clare to intercede. 
Do your eyes bother you? Ask for St. Lucy's prayers. 
Not sure of who to go to? Again, use your favorite search engine & type in "Patron saint of (insert needs here)".

No, this is NOT worshiping them! We know that we can only worship God. Praying for a saint's intercession is just like asking a friend to pray for you. 

So, today, on this special Feast of All Saints, I pray you may find peace & joy through the intercession of our dear friends in Heaven!