by Ken Rolheiser
The Saints that walk among us

This past weekend while celebrating my brother’s fiftieth anniversary to the priesthood I was inspired to think of the Saints that walk among us. These Saints include my ancestors who safeguarded the faith from Germany to Saratov, Russia, to the Saskatchewan prairies.

Grace was alive as we celebrated Masses and gave thanks for parents and family members who lived and who live the challenge of entering into that mystery of prayer that makes our daily lives holy. The presence of my parents and seven of my siblings already with God was deeply moving.

During his homily at a Mass of canonization, Pope Francis said: “The saints are men and women who enter fully into the mystery of prayer. Men and women who struggle with prayer, letting the Holy Spirit pray and struggle in them.” That is us! Welcome the struggle.

“They struggle to the very end, with all their strength, and they triumph, but not by their own efforts: the Lord triumphs in them and with them.” They remain firm in faith, with a steadfast heart. Through their intercession, God can enable us to be men and women of prayer. 

In “Who said Jesus hasn’t already returned?” Robert Worstell said there is a concept of “living grace”, a high ideal for us to reach. You have to live this stuff 24-7-365 Worstell said. It is not just dressing up once a week and going to a certain building.

My realization this weekend about Saints that walk with us is true in our families and it is true in our towns and communities. I meet with the Canora Ministerial Association every month and see their prayer lives working. They share the word and devote themselves tirelessly to good works like the Food Bank.

The Saints are walking among us, and we can join them. We have to look beyond the tumult of the world noise around us and hear the proclamation of angels about a new-born King. There is a voice shouting victory over suffering and death. Anyone “…who hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelations 3:20). 

Jesus is the answer to sickness, suffering and death. He alone can offer us peace during times of uncertainty and grant us a glimpse of the glory that is to come. The Holy Spirit opens us to the encounter with Jesus. We can unite our pain and suffering, and ultimately death, to the Cross of Christ. 

One of the Saints who walked among us, St John Paul II, explains in his letter on the World Day of the Sick in 2005: “It is precisely in times of sickness that the need to find adequate responses to… the meaning of pain, suffering and death itself, considered not only as an enigma that is hard to face, but a mystery in which Christ incorporates our lives in himself, opening them to a new and definitive birth for the life that will never end.”

Sickness reminds us of death. It is scary, but it also gives us hope. “In Christ lies the hope of true, full health; the salvation that he brings is the true response to the ultimate questions we face,” St John Paul II said.

How many Saints that walk among us have you seen recently? Isn’t it time to become one? Better late than never.

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