Today we give thanks for the great multitude of women and men, girls and boys, who have gone before us in the way of faith. In the Bible we hear of the destiny of all THE SAINTS who die in Christ;
‘God… will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’
All of us have been inspired on our Christian journeys by ordinary men and women – the saints mentioned in today’s readings and commemorated in today’s Feast. Who has inspired you; what captivated you about them? How did they reflect God’s love?
The saints reflected God in their own lives. Thinking now about yourself, how do you reflect God in your life? Is your life an act of worship?
Remember one person who has inspired you in your life and faith.
Comment on the 20th Century Martyrs
Rev Dr Anthony Harvey, sub-dean of Westminster
“But our [20th] century, which has been the most violent in recorded history, has created a roll of Christian martyrs far exceeding that of any previous period.“
“There has never been a time in Christian history when someone, somewhere, has not died rather than compromise with the powers of oppression, tyranny and unbelief,”
- In 1918, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth of Russia was killed by the Bolsheviks.
- Manche Masemola was a Anglican catechumen from South Africa who was killed in 1928 by her parents at the age of 16.
- Maximilian Kolbe was canonised by the Roman Catholic Church after being killed by the Nazis in 1941.
- In 1941, Lucian Tapiede, an Anglican from Papua New Guinea, was killed during the Japanese invasion.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor and theologian. killed by the Nazis in 1945.
- Esther John, a Presbyterian evangelist from Pakistan, was allegedly killed by a Muslim fanatic in 1960.
- One of the world’s most famous civil rights activists, Martin Luther King, a baptist, was assassinated in 1969.
- In 1972, Wang Zhiming was killed during the Chinese cultural revolution. He was a pastor and evangelist.
- In 1977, Janani Luwum was assassinated during the rule of Idi Amin, in Uganda, for being an Anglican Archbishop.
- Oscar Romero was a Roman Catholic Archbishop in El Salvado, assassinated in 1980.
Tarore of Waharoa
Tarore, the daughter of Ngakuku, the Ngati Haua chief, attended the mission station at Matamata and learned to read. Tragically, on 19 October 1836, at the age of twelve, she was killed during a raid. Her father preached forgiveness at her tangi. The Gospel of Luke that was with her was taken by one of the raiding party, who was subsequently converted and made peace with Ngakuku. Later it was taken to Otaki, where its message led to the conversion of Tamihana Te Rauparaha, who became a missionary to the South Island.
— St. Dominic Savio
Born and raised in Italy, Dominic showed signs of holiness early on. When he was just 4 years old Dominic was frequently found by his parents in solitary prayer. He learned to be an altar boy at age 5, and if he got to the church before the priest unlocked the doors in the morning, he would kneel until the priest arrived. As a boy he decided to simply perform all of his duties with as much love and humility as possible, which he summed up with the motto, “I can’t do big things but I want everything to be for the glory of God.” Dominic died at the age of 14 in 1857
— Mother Teresa quoted in Mother Teresa: No Greater Love edited by Becky Benenate and Joseph Durepos
“Keep in mind that our community is not composed of those who are already saints, but of those who are trying to become saints. Therefore let us be extremely patient with each other’s faults and failures.”
— Joan D. Chittister in A Passion for Life
“For centuries the church has confronted the human community with role models of greatness. We call them saints when what we really often mean to say is ‘icon,’ ‘star,’ ‘hero,’ ones so possessed by an internal vision of divine goodness that they give us a glimpse of the face of God in the center of the human. They give us a taste of the possibilities of greatness in ourselves.”
— Matthew Fox in Confessions
“I am reminded of the biblical use of the term saint in the book of Acts. That it applies to each of us. All who are attempting to imitate the Christ in their lives merit the title of ‘saint.’ Some do it more fully than others and are willing to let go of more to get the job done.”
— Pope Francis
Why He Leads the Way He Leads by Chris Lowney
[Lessons from the First Jesuit Pope]
- Feeding the pigs
- Doing the laundry
- Living in humble dwellings
- Wearing unpretentious clothes
- Being amongst the people
If you want to lead, get real. Show us that you understand what’s really going on in the world. Don’t be out of touch; don’t hide in an office, behind numbers, or behind ideology. Commit to getting your boots dirty. Inspire us to sacrifice for the team by making sacrifices yourself. Accept accountability for your choices and for their impact on yourself, your family, and the world.
Yes, get real by plunging into the world and getting your feet dirty. But, also, take a step back every day, into a solitary place. Great leaders are entirely in the world, but not entirely of it.
— The Last Word – Bernard of Clairvaux 1090-1153
The saints have no need of honor from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by tremendous yearning.
What can you do to help others to reflect God in their lives and perhaps to take their place in that company of Saints?