THE FEAST OF ALL SAINTS

I USED TO SUBSCRIBE TO TIME MAGAZINE.  I stopped my subscription years ago and I no longer read it even my doctor’s office.
One of the reasons why I abandoned Time Magazine is because while Clare Booth Luce was alive, she was the wife of the founder of Time, Henry Luce, the editors and writers of Time were, if not favorable to Catholicism at least they were not hostile to it.  Clare Booth Luce was one of the first famous converts to Catholicism brought into the Church by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.  As the years went by Time became more and more hostile to the Catholic Church.  One of the minor things the editors and writers did was to insinuate that the whole of the Catholic faith was man-made; there was nothing divine about it.
In particular, I was incensed when they would report on every canonization by a pope by headlining the article, for example:  THE POPE MADE SIX NEW SAINTS THIS WEEK.   Of course we know that only God can make a person a saint if that person is open to God’s grace.
Here is some thoughts on the subject by Father George W. Rutler:
*********************************************************
November 1, 2009
by Fr. George W. Rutler

The expression “a living saint” can be misleading. Certainly, we have encountered people in our own lives who fit that description, as best as we can judge. The Holy Church makes the final decision about saints. We celebrate them especially on All Saints’ Day, and on All Souls’ Day, we pray for our loved ones who are drawing more closely into the aura of holiness. The saints on the calendar are only the tip of the iceberg, and most of the saints who have ever existed are known to God alone. Perhaps churches should have a shrine to “The Unknown Saint” quite as we have a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. All Saints’ Day is rather like that.

My point, though, is that there is no such thing as a dead saint. There are saints alive now, and there are saints who have physically died, but all are alive in Christ and they are “busy” in heaven, to use a temporal metaphor. Some saints capture the popular imagination more in one generation than in another. For instance, St. Simon Stylites was admired in Syria in the fifth century for spending most of his life seated on top of a pillar. That is not a useful model for our day, although some may still remember Flagpole Kelly, and not long ago thousands of New Yorkers went to watch a man spend a week on top of a column up the street in Bryant Park.

Millions are drawn to Padre Pio, and some are compelled by an unmeasured fascination with his miraculous spiritual gifts, which were blessings indeed, rather than emulating his heroic humility and discipline. There remains an astonishing cult of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She was almost the reverse of St. Pio: totally unknown in her earthly lifetime, and accomplishing nothing conspicuous to her contemporaries. She would have remained such had not her spiritual writings been discovered and published. Perhaps she fascinates precisely because in just barely 24 years on earth, she did the most ordinary things with most extraordinary joy. Whenever her relics are taken on pilgrimage to foreign lands (not to mention the one that was taken on a space shuttle), hundreds of thousands pour out to pray by them. This happened most recently in England, where the media were confounded by the huge crowds.

Concurrent with that phenomenon, there were astonishing developments in long-moribund Christian life there, not least of which was the announcement of the first papal state visit to Britain and the expected beatification of John Henry Newman, who predicted a “Second Spring” of Faith in England. Then came news of an Apostolic Constitution, which will provide a unique canonical structure to welcome those desiring union with the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI, who well deserves the title “The Pope of Unity,” has shown the power of the intercessions of the saints.

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
This entry was posted in SANCTITY and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.