You probably know more saints than you think!

I grant there may be few among us who have had the privilege of meeting the likes of the saint we call Mother Theresa. Yet, you and I have touched, or been touched by, saints.

In a sense we all share May’s question… “How can this be?

It all depends on your definition of saint!

In this Vincentian Mindwalk  I explore what Pope Francis calls the holiness of the saints next door.

Pope Francis speaks in his own words

The Saints Next Door

7. “I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people:

in those parents who raise their children with immense love,

in those men and women who work hard to support their families,

in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile.

In their daily perseverance I see the holiness of the Church militant.

Very often it is a holiness found in our next-door neighbors, those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence. We might call them “the middle class of holiness”.[4]

9. “Holiness is the most attractive face of the Church.”

The Lord Calls

10. … (The Lord says) personally, to you: “Be holy, for I am holy” (Lev 11:44; cf. 1 Pet 1:16).

11. “Each in his or her own way” the (Second Vatican) Council says.

“We should not grow discouraged before examples of holiness that appear unattainable.

There are some testimonies that may prove helpful and inspiring, but that we are not meant to copy, for that could even “lead us astray from the one specific path that the Lord has in mind for us.

“The important thing is that each believer discern his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves, the most personal gifts that God has placed in their hearts (cf. 1 Cor 12:7), rather than hopelessly trying to imitate something not meant for them.

14. “To be holy does not require being a bishop, a priest or a religious. We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer. That is not the case.

We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.

“Are you called to the consecrated life? Be holy by living out your commitment with joy.”

“Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does for the Church.

“Do you work for a living? Be holy by labouring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters.

“Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus.

“Are you in a position of authority? Be holy by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain.[14]

16. “This holiness to which the Lord calls you will grow through small gestures.

(Nor do you have to be born in Italy)

The Great Criterion Matthew 25

“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me” (vv. 35-36).

We are all called recognize, celebrate and be “ordinary saints”, “Saints next door”.

So tell me now … How many saints do you know?

I encourage everyone to read the full text.

Click below for an early audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk.

How many saints do you know?
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