Everyday Holiness

11 Nov
The Beautiful St. Gemma Galgani

The Beautiful St. Gemma Galgani

When I was a little girl, I thought that when you died you went to Heaven, grew some feathers, and sprouted wings. If you were lucky, you would be granted a bow and arrow and were allowed by God to shoot people to help them fall in love. Have you ever heard of a more romantic 5 year old?!

Reality is (“St. Fiona”) that we do not become Angels; instead, if we make it past those pearly gates, we become Saints. There are two kinds of saints: capitol ‘S’ saints, and lower case ‘s’ saints (this is how I explain it to my students). Capitol ‘S’ Saints are those whom we know are in Heaven due to miracles associated with them or by their martyrdom (yup, that’s right–if you die for your faith–you go straight to Heaven!). These canonized Saints are the ones we grew up praying to and the ones we name our children after. Saints with a lower case ‘s’ are those saints who are our friends, family, loved ones, coworkers, etc, who pass on and enter Heaven, yet are not canonized by the Church, nor is there actual proof that they are indeed in Heaven.   (So, if you need clarification: if you make it to Heaven, you’re a saint!)

Most people would give two different answers to the questions, “Do you want to be a saint?” and “Do you want to go to Heaven?” Why does it seem unattractive to be asked to become a saint? Sainthood is often associated with holy people – people who are boring and have no fun – people we certainly are not (insert sarcasm here………….if you want). If we’re striving for Heaven, that often means that we might (certainly!) need to change a few things about the way we live our lives. This is hard! And humbling. The beauty of this struggle is that there are millions of people who have gone through this before us. (These are the S/saints.) We can pray to the S/saints anytime we want for guidance, prayers, and intercessions. They are in Heaven and so is God. So, why not ask for prayers from those who know, love and live with God?

With All Saints Day this month, remember: it’s not just a day to honor those who have gone before us, but it is also a day to look at our own lives and ask ourselves how we’re going to get to Heaven… because we are ALL called to become saints.

– Kari Elsen

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