All Saints’ Day 2023

Greetings to you on All Saints’ Day 2023! This is a day and a time of transition for us to remember those loved ones and people of faith who have gone before us. I’m especially remembering my Mom and Dad, my good friend Paul Townsend and my college friend Don Berry, as well as people I’ve admired such as St. Francis of Assisi, Ben Salmon, Oscar Romero, St. Teresa of Calcutta, Martin Luther King, Jr., John O’Donohue and Dorothy Day.

As I consider their lives and the lives of the “great cloud of witnesses” from the Book of Hebrews, chapter 11, and as I attempt to follow in their footsteps, even as they followed the footsteps of Jesus who was called Christ, my hope and prayer is that I’ll prove faithful in my own way, as they did in theirs.

I especially like Wikipedia’s opening summary of All Saint’s Day (even though some likely British editor spelled “honor” incorrectly), “All Saints’ Day, also known as All Hallows’ Day, the Feast of All Saints, the Feast of All Hallows, the Solemnity of All Saints, and Hallowmas, is a Christian solemnity celebrated in honour of all the saints of the Church, whether they are known or unknown.”

The part about “known or unknown” is what gets me. Having worked for so long with people on the margins and learning parts of their stories teaches me that countless everyday stories of faithfulness and kindness and prophetic neighborliness go untold. There’s K. and K., a couple who were experiencing homelessness, who offered a spot in their two-person tent to a woman who had no coat in the dead of winter. There’s L., who barely scraped by on a meager income but still spent time facilitating meals for people in need. There’s R. and K. and S. and others who live in their vehicles themselves, but who never hesitate to clean up litter or help someone else who is worse off than they are. 

May those stories, too, find their way into a special archive somewhere for a day when they can be widely shared and acclaimed. Amen!
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