I love the Feast of All Saints! It is one of my favorite feasts in the Church’s year. These men and women from throughout the centuries (our elder brothers and sisters in the faith) literally show us what it looks like to follow Christ and, by so doing, what it means to be fully human. The saints are true icons as opposed to pop cultures’ rip-off versions. (I find it interesting how pop culture in all its flash and bravado continually needs to steal the language and imagery of religion. If pop culture is such a powerful force why does it need the language and imagery of another worldview? Shouldn’t it be able to create its own language and imagery? Hmmm, it makes one wonder…)
One of the lessons that the saints teach us is that we learn the Christian life by doing the Christian life. I remember as a youngster learning to ride a bike for the first time. I did not spend weeks in preparation studying the mathematical equations and wind velocity of the bike. Nor did I take apart every piece of the bike and scrutinize it. No, I got on the bike one day (my dad ran behind me) and I learned how to ride. Yes, I faltered and went off balance some at first (this is where my dad came in) but before I knew it I was riding the bike! The saints tell us that it is the same in the Christian life. If we want to be a forgiving person then forgive. If we want to be prayerful then pray. If we want to reach out to the poor then don’t just talk about it, go and encounter the poor! “Its that simple?” we ask. “Yes” say the saints.
We learn the Christian life by doing the Christian life!