About Harvester's Wanted:

A Catholic priest's reflections along the path of Faith.

When this life is complete, I pray they say I lived for the Greater Glory of God +AMDG+

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

We Are Not Alone

The Solemnity of All Saints
Saint Gabriel Parish, October 31 / November 1, 2015


The Solemnity of All Saints is a day to recognize all those who are examples in our lives. Our 5th and 6th graders have just done something very amazing - an undefeated season, winning the toy bowl. We have examples of hard work and dedication among us here today, in our school, in our community. Saints - people working on sainthood - are among us.

I was talking recently with a young woman. She was feeling alone; struggling with things that were going on in her life. She was very concerned; despairing in a way. I’m not talking about anyone here. She is not a member of this parish, nor does she even live on this continent. The Church is universal after all. I was talking to her, and she told me that she wants to grow stronger in her Catholic faith; so I gave some suggestions and listened to her talk about her situation. Eventually, I got around to the question: do you have a particular Saint to whom you pray for their intercession? For that is what Saints are, they intercede for us in heaven. They walk beside us, supporting us. We don't pray to them; we pray with them.

I asked her: 
  • Are there any particular Saints in your culture that you are close to? And she says no I really don't get this whole Saint thing anyway, I'm not sure what all that is about. 
  • I said okay... do you have people that are close to you that have passed away? She said, yes, I do. 
  • Do you go to the graveside now and then to visit? Yes. 
  • To take flowers? I do. 
  • Do you have a picture of them in your house? Yes. 
  • In a place of honor where you can see them? Yes. 
  • Finally I ask - do you ever talk to your loved ones who are no longer with us? She says yes, as a matter of fact I do. 

I tell her that she is talking to her grandmother, or grandfather, her friend, whoever it might be that has passed on that she talks to them as you would talk to a saint. That's what saints are. They can seem like this awesome person, an example for others that is so far beyond us that we can try and relate. The Church being a family, all of us sons and daughters of God, we are one huge family. It matters little if our loved ones have died in the past year, in the past decade, in the past century or millennia; they are with us. They love us, they care for us, and they want to see us do well, to be happy, to be with God. This entire multitude of people who have lived, and learned, and loved; they intercede for us. With the community of Saint in mind, we are never truly alone. It is often difficult to feel this deep sense of constant connection. There maybe some even in this room right now who may feel alone in a crowd. I don't know if any of you has heard that saying ‘alone in a crowd,’ I have certainly experienced that feeling in my life. You may be sitting right next to someone and yet feel entirely alone. Husbands and wives, sharing the same bed, may feel completely alone. If that's the case with you, please know that you always have someone to talk to.

As difficult as it is to imagine, our world and the spiritual world are not separate but right next to one another. In some churches, there is a saying that you're never alone because you always have eyes watching you: statues, paintings, and a plethora of images of saints. We have many here, but there are some churches with every corner filled with some example of the saints. All the same this building is full even if it has no breathing creature in it, it is still full of the saints. For wherever God is, the Saints are right there. They are among us right now! If only we had eyes to see there is no way we could ever imagine ourselves to be alone!

Angel helping us out of Purgatory

Saint and future saints are among us at this very moment. I might regret doing this, raise your hands - who here wants to be a saint? Come on, sometimes it is like the 7th and 8th graders - they just look at you. If you didn’t raise your hand, why are you here? Not to be mean, but why are we here if it’s not to become a saint, to give thanks for the to be together for eternity with God. If that's not what we want, then why, why come to this place. Sometimes it can sound like being Saint is difficult. In our first reading, we hear of the 144,000. Some have used this line from Revelations to indicate that there's a small number who will go to heaven; almost like winning a golden ticket. Read just another line down and we hear about a great multitude that could not be counted standing before the throne and before the Lamb. A great multitude, beyond count, in heaven with God. It is not that difficult to get to heaven, to be a saint, in fact, God is the one who does most of the work! God draws us to himself and with the Saints we walk on that path together. It's hard to turn away from God, but it is made easier to turn away from God when we turn away from one another. By turning away from others, we begin to turn our backs slowly on God. That we are not alone is a fact that is both a comfort and a challenge.

We have an incredible list in our Gospel today: ways to be a saint. The meek, the peacemakers, the merciful, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. None of these are done alone. You cannot be meek unless you are not trying to pretend to be strong, you cannot be a peacemaker if you shut yourself in your room and forget about the world, you can not hunger and thirst for righteousness if others don't matter at all not. It’s not that difficult to just follow the Beatitude. It becomes more difficult when we start to turn our backs on one another.Many of us raised our hands, wanting to be saints, and hopefully the rest have decided that they too want to pick up the work of sainthood.I too hope to be a saint. That is not to say that I hope one day there is a Saint Adams parish’s, Saint Adam of Louisville Parish full of wonderful people, full of excitement and many good things. A possibility, but it will have nothing to do with me. That's all up to God, not to me. Even if my name remains unknown to everyone a thousand year from now, that's fine, there are plenty of other Saint to help those along the path.


Almost all of us have loved ones we have lost. Many of us, I imagine, have loved one who we talk too much like this young woman I spoke of earlier on. We pray with them, we pray for their intercession. We can get all caught up with where they are. Are they in heaven, are they in purgatory, should I pray for them? It can be so confusing. Just like the way I am with my brother. I pray he is in heaven, but I don't know for sure if he is necessarily there at this moment. I pray for him, and I pray that he pray for me because I guarantee you, if he’s not praying for me, me and that boy are going to have a talk. He better be praying for me wherever he is, and I don’t need to know where he is. God has him; that is all I need to know.

We help one another. Alive, deceased, we are all called together, to be one communion of saints! We are not alone: it's a comfort that's easily forgotten, and it's a challenge that we easily turn our backs on.