... in the saints

Published on 01 Nov 2020
A stained glass window depicting the English Martyrs

I was speaking to someone who is not a Catholic this week, and they said 'you pray to the saints, don't you?' At which I replied – I am not a theologian! –  'They pray for us!' 

The homily at the Mass I went to on All Saints this year referred to the congregation having devotions to 'their saints'. Of course, we all have favourites. However, it struck me as not quite being the point of the feast of All Saints, since they all have their own days too (indeed, as the priest then elaborated, it is more than single saints – the sense that we can't have accounted for all of them)

Speaking of favourites, every time we approach a solemnity, especially a Holy Day of Obligation, I decide that yes, this is my favourite. The same this week, as I reflected on the feast of All Saints. But why? The image that always come to me is that of the 'great cloud of witnesses' (Hebrews 12: 1) the great number, 'impossible to count' (Revelation 7: 9), an image which inspires me with a true sense of awe. If I had to explain to someone who perhaps wasn't a Christian, then a more prosaic image might work: that of me, running a marathon, and a huge crowd cheering me on. Or just me, in an athlete in a stadium, and that whole stadium filled to the top with people cheering, just for me, Of course, not just for me, but for the whole people of God. A heavenly host, praying for us. 

This thought provides me with much strength.