Thought for the Day – 1 November – The Solemnity of All Saints
The Idea of a Saint
Saint John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
“Very various are the saints, their very variety is a token of God’s workmanship but, however various and whatever was their special line of duty, they have been heroes in it, they have attained such noble self-command,
they have so crucified the flesh,
they have so renounced the world,
they are so meek,
so full of prayer,
so diligent, so forgetful of injuries – they have attained such great and continued pains,
they have persevered in such vast labours,
they have made such valiant confessions,
they have wrought such abundant miracles,
they have been blessed with such strange successes,
that they have set up a standard before us of truth, of magnanimity, of holiness, of love.
They are not always our examples, we are not always bound to follow them – not more than we are bound to obey literally, some of our Lord’s precepts, such as turning the cheek or giving away the coat – not more than we can follow the course of the sun, moon or stars in the heavens;
but, though not always our examples,
they are always our standard of right and good,
they are raised up to be monuments and lessons,
they remind us of God,
they introduce us into the unseen world,
they teach us what Christ loves,
they track out for us the way which leads heavenwards.
They are to us who see them, what wealth, notoriety, rank and name are to the multitude of men who live in darkness – objects of our veneration and of our homage.
Give me grace, O Jesus,
to live in sight of that blessed company.
Let my life be spent in the presence of Thee
and Thy closest friends.
Though I see them not,
let not what I do see seduce me, to give my heart elsewhere.
Because Thou hast blessed me so much
and given to me friends,
let me not depend or rely or throw myself
in any way upon them
but on those with whom
Thou did surround Thyself on earth
and now delight Thyself in heaven.
Be my soul with Thee
and, because with Thee,
with Mary and Joseph
and Elizabeth and John.