Monday, November 1

Lessons from the saints - special all saints edition

Today is the Feast of All Saints.  As someone who has a keen interest in hagiography, I will admit that when I first approached this feast day some years ago, it was with a certain amount of disdain. 

You see, reading through the hagiographic accounts, there are literally thousands of saints.  Then you have the '...and companions'.  That would be the unnamed tens of thousands who walked in faith beside the people we know, endured and suffered as they did, lived and died without even so much as a footnote in history - known only to God. November 1 is the feast of '...and companions'.

Those companions have no names to invoke, no stories to inspire, no cause to intercede for.  As that was the focus of my studies and my understanding of hagiography, I did not appreciate the value of this day.

There is this thing, you see, called the Communion of Saints, which I never had really grocked.  Growing up protestant, we didn't really believe in saints, so the idea of the Communion of Saints was really weird and out there (despite it being in the Apostle's Creed).  My, how things have changed since then.

I understand now (or at least have a good inkling) how we are all connected in the Body of Christ, that death is not a barrier between the members of the Body and that the word 'saint' in the New Testament/Early-church understanding means a member of the Body...a real believer and seeker of the Kingdom.  I have a clue now that the Body isn't some abstract and cold idea, but is real and alive...that choir invisible really is there, an ephemeral cheering squad urging us on by example and by exhortation to be better, to do better and to finish the race as they have before us.  They were just like us, they did it and so can we.

So, today is the feast day for all who are of the Body, the believers and seekers of the Kingdom, whether in our choir or in the choir invisible.  It is our feast day, the feast day of the '...and companions.'

Thanks be to God

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