Saturday, October 31, 2015


We tend to reserve the word, “saint” for the biggies, the people whose lives have captured our imagination to such an extent that they are eventually beatified and named a saint. However, scripturally speaking, Paul used the word to refer to every follower of Jesus Christ (you and me, we are saints).

In the introductory sentences of the Intercession in the Communion service of the Book of Common Prayer, it says, "Let us pray for the whole state of Christ's Church militant (ecclesia militans) here in earth." (Page 75)

Well, let’s think about that word, “militant.” In Latin, its primary meaning is “serving as a soldier.” Militant has acquired a secondary meaning of “to struggle, to make an effort,” which is the intent in the BCP. “Christ’s Church militant” is all those people who call themselves Christians here on earth, or as Paul would say, the saints.

We are militant saints, whose great effort, great struggle is against sin.

All Saints Day and All Souls Day are side by side in the calendar, and quite deliberately so. One day is for remembering all those beatified people (some whose names have been forgotten). The other day is for remembering particularly people who have died but whose lives have touched us in meaningful and positive ways. Together, the two feast days serve as a reminder to the saints (you and me) that we too are engaged in the great struggle against sin, all those things that separate us from the love of God.

Remembering a beloved grandparents or the life of a particular historical saint can inspire us (fill us with the Spirit) to live lives for God’s glory.

Sometimes the saints can even make us laugh, even in the most painful of circumstances. For example, there is the story of the third century Saint Lawrence, who was burned to death over hot coals, and who called out, “This side is done.” In the fourth century, Saint Augustine of Hippo, prayed, "Lord, give me chastity... but not yet."

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