On this Feast of All Saints we commemorate men and women who lived heroically among us. The word “Saint” comes from the Latin word Sanctus meaning “holy or set apart.” The Saints lived in the world but were not of it. Indeed if we understand the root meaning or “being set apart” we come to understand that an essential part of holiness is to live in distinction from and in contrast to the values of world. It takes great courage to stand apart from what is merely current or popular. More than ever as our world turns very secular we need strength to distinguish ourselves and to summon the world to God’s truth.
This is especially evident in the Church. Pray especially for bishops and priests. As the world continues to grow in hostility to the faith the clergy will need great zeal, conviction and courage. We must speak boldly and clearly and lead the Catholic faithful through difficult times.
Pray also for Catholics who are in public and civil authority. Many of us have been saddened at the poor example of faith that many (not all) Catholic politicians have exhibited. Pray for conversion where necessary and their courage to live their faith publicly and in a way that distinguishes them from non-believers. There are so many Catholics in public life! If they could stand together for the truth of faith and be of one accord with the Church in the moral issues of our day we would be at a far better place.
What we need is holiness in the leaders of the Church and in Catholic Lay Leaders in our world. We need saints. Consider the following admonition from the Book of Wisdom to those in Civil Authority:
Hear, therefore, kings, and understand; learn, you magistrates of the earth’s expanse! Hearken, you who are in power over the multitude and lord it over throngs of peoples! Because authority was given you by the LORD and sovereignty by the Most High, who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels! Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom, you judged not rightly, and did not keep the law, nor walk according to the will of God, Terribly and swiftly shall he come against you, because judgment is stern for the exalted- For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test. For the Lord of all shows no partiality, nor does he fear greatness, Because he himself made the great as well as the small, and he provides for all alike; but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends. To you, therefore, O princes, are my words addressed that you may learn wisdom and that you may not sin. For those who keep the holy precepts hallowed shall be found holy, and those learned in them will have ready a response. Desire therefore my words; long for them and you shall be instructed. (Wisdom 6:1-10)
And to the religious leaders of Ezekiel’s day God said:
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost….’Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD : As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD : This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. (Ezekiel 38:2-8)
And so on this Feast of All Saints, pray for saints. Saints among the clergy and among civil leaders and politicians. Pray for us to fear God God more than man, to love the truth more passing opinions, and to serve rather than be served. Pray for all in authority because we will be held to a stricter account. God is still looking for saints. Heaven isn”t filled yet. Your prayers are essential. On this feast of All Saints pray for more saints especially among the “leaders of the people.”
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:1-4)
I’m in the Holy Land this week until November 8th. I have scheduled blogs that will appear each day while I’m away so stay tuned! My participation in the comments however may be a little light since my time with the internet will be sporadic. Comments will be moderated by someone else on the team and I’ll participate when I can. – Msgr Pope.