All Saints’ Day. There is a wonder, a mystery to this “church holiday,” this ecclesiastical feast day. A recollection of my younger years, a memory which still provides me a degree of happiness and blessings is the Litany of the Saints. This ancient chant is still part of the Churches’ Liturgy and rightly so. There is a grace to be received I believe, when we celebrate these holy men and women of God, provided we willingly open ourselves and embrace the grace that is made available. The celebration of this ancient hymn very much is alive and that, my good friends, in a good thing.
All of us, through our baptism and in our efforts to serve God and one another are called to be “saintly” in our spiritual and ministerial endeavors.
Growing up across the street from my home parish in Detroit, I am filled beyond capacity with the memories of many, many church stories. I was the proverbial “church mouse,” thank you very much. I can still hear the church organist and choir director, Mrs. Lillian Mulroy, who also lived across the street from the church, (though many of us who were choir boys believed she actually lived in the choir loft as most of her “personal belongings” were strewn all about the upper quarters of the church!) Nonetheless, Mrs. Mulroy would open up that huge pipe organ and literally and figuratively, the church would vibrate, move and shake!
Saint Agatha…Pray for us.
Saints Perpetua and Felicity…Pray for us.
Saint Lucy…Pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel…Pray for us.
Saint Joseph…Pray for us.
St. Rita…Pray for us.
St. Nicholas…Pray for us.
All you saints and angels…Pray for us.
(here’s an example of how it might be done in an Episcopal church – wish St Nick’s had handbells! – webmistress)
The Litany went on and on…it was endless, or at best it felt to be endless. Personally, I didn’t mind it at all. I sort of felt I was in the very company of these heavenly beings while their saintly names were chanted one after another.
Today, I am surrounded by another collection of “earth bound heavenly beings.” Blessedly, I am fortunate enough to share my faith and my energy with my sisters and brothers who make up the community of St. Nicholas. All of us, through our baptism and in our efforts to serve God and one another are called to be “saintly” in our spiritual and ministerial endeavors. Remember: the saints were ordinary human beings, just like us, who did some extraordinary things. Their lives were dedicated to serving Jesus, the Redeemer. And us; we too are ordinary human beings, just like the saints, and we too do some extraordinary things and we do so all for the greater glory of God.
Yes I do thank the Good Lord for the many blessings that have found their way to me and have filled my heart. Likewise, I thank the holy men and women who still bring me an oh so delightful degree of happiness and peace. Certainly, I need not bother with being diverted in my prayers to “speak” with Jesus via any requested intercessions through anyone else – saint or otherwise. Then again, why not enjoy the company of some saintly friends who make my daily journey just that much more joyful, blessed and sacred. I enjoy their company and quite frankly, why refuse any divine intervention when it is so readily available.
Happy All Saints’ Day to one and all.