By Student Preacher Joe Burda ’23 (Riverside, IL)
Today, the Church celebrates All Saints Day, when we recognize those Christians who have achieved spiritual maturity. It is a day to venerate all the holy men and women who have been canonized, which is the official recognition process to certify a saint, by the Church. Saints are best defined as people who lived heroically virtuous lives, offered their life for others or were martyred for the faith.
To gain an understanding of what a virtuous life is, we need look no further than today’s Gospel. Today we hear Jesus proclaiming the Beatitudes to the disciples. To live a saintly life such as St. Francis of Assisi and St. Peter, we must follow these beatitudes which guide us to building the kingdom of God on earth. It is through us people of God that we can manifest in this world the peace and solemnity of heaven. At the end of the list of Beatitudes, Jesus says, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in Heaven.” The journey to becoming holy, that is a saint, is not easy. We will face many challenges and difficulties. However, if we give it our best effort, and trust in God’s mercy, we too can spend eternity with God: a reward well worth the struggle.
Growing up in a Catholic household, and having attended a Catholic grade school, I was always surrounded by saints whether it be in the form of a bracelet, movie or statue. I was frequently told during my younger years to pray for the intercession of saints, but what does that even mean?
Intercession is basically a request for assistance. The saints dwell with God in Heaven and are able to reach out to Him to ask for His help, for us. For example, when you lose something that you cannot find anywhere, you can pray for the intercession of St. Anthony to help guide you to find the item.
Another example would be, St. Michael. In a homily, I heard the priest say that every time he gets into his car he prays a prayer to St. Michael, because St. Michael protects those who pray to him from all harm and evil. This homily came to my mind when it was time to choose my confirmation saint. St. Michael is who I ended up choosing because being protected from the temptations of the devil is very important.
Each saint stands for a crucial virtue, and so we should strive to cultivate friendships with many saints, so that we are comfortable in seeking their intercession in our times of difficulty or need. St. Michael and St. Anthony are good ones to come to know, but there are many others that can aid us on our journey through this life.
To close, I invite you all to think of a need … now together, let us say the prayer to Saint Michael which goes as follows:
St Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
St. Michael the Archangel and all the Holy Saints of God: Pray for us!