Celebrating All Saints

Almighty God,
you have knit together your elect
in one communion and fellowship
in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord:
Grant us grace so to follow your blessed saints
in all virtuous and godly living
that we may come to those inexpressible joys
that you have prepared for those who truly love you;
through Christ our Lord. Amen

(From the Collect of the Day)

Saints are friends we have in heaven. Most of us probably have a favourite saint, or a few. We take inspiration from their lives and their example may offer support and guidance for us, especially at times when our faith is challenged by the ups and downs of life. Who we spend our time with can influence who we become; friends, both living and those in heaven, can make a lasting impact on our lives. On the feast of All Saints, we celebrate lives of ordinary people, known and unknown, who were like lighthouses in their time, reflecting the glory of God with their lives. Knowing that numerous saints have walked before us, we know that we are not on this journey on our own. That is, in a way, what we mean by believing in the communion of saints.

In the last few years that I have been in Ireland, I have met people who are living saints. I realised that I didn’t consider them saints because they were doing something ‘extraordinary’, nor were they perfect. They were in fact ‘only’ living the Gospel, as best they could. I saw something courageous and yet gracious in who they were, though they would probably deny it, if someone tried to affirm it in them. They gave their ‘yes’ to God, and they meant it, and I know it was a costly choice. I presume that they had to renew that commitment in the silence of their hearts many times. What is more, it showed in their lives, you could see it, even if they could not.

Naturally, sanctity is not a thing of the past. Saints still walk among us. We all probably know a few. Maybe they are a family member or a friend or even, God-forbid, someone whom we might consider ‘an enemy’. I believe that a saint is someone whose life shows that God exists, which may often not be very deliberate or intentional, but it may come rather natural to some people. In a way, it is more about God than it is about them.

All of us who have embarked on a spiritual journey are ‘saints in the making’, which at times can be a challenging process, mainly because it involves transforming our own way of being into a Christlike way of living. An invitation to be saints, as the Bible calls all Christians, may be somewhat like a healing process as sometimes healing will involve leaving behind our ways of acting and letting God teach us His way of acting and being in the world. This is something we can learn from the saints. Of course, it is a lifelong task, which will require cooperation with God’s grace. When you think of it, it is impossible to be a saint; we can never be one merely by our own efforts. Holiness is a gift of God, because only God is truly holy. Paradoxically, the further we are on the path of holiness the more truly human we will be; for “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)”


Iva Beranek
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland

And isn’t it true?

The Cork University Maternity Hospital’s Annual Service of Remembrance is later this evening (Friday, 11th October 2013, 7pm). I’m reminded of this poem by Pádraig Ó Tuama from his collection Sorry for Your Troubles (thanks again, Richard, for the recommendation).

And isn’t it true for all of us

and isn’t it true for all of us
that we need someone
to watch us when we leave
and when we need
to make our own
way home,
when we’re making something we can’t see,
or when we’re shaping up to be
a person that can feel
a hundred sorrows and still
get through the day
who could dream a hundred horrors
and make it anyway,

isn’t it true for all of us
that we need a guiding
maybe mother, maybe lover,
maybe nothing other than a stranger,
who could see our fear,
and with kindness then, unfold a welcome,

isn’t it true for all of us
that we need our secrets told
and that without another
to bear witness to the children
that were never born,
and would never be a grown-up
we would be alone and lost and cold,
there would be childish hungers left
inside of us,
needing to grow old.

Prayer Ministry Training

A Dublin & Glendalough training programme for prayer ministry begins this month on 26th October 2013, to be held at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. The programme is open to those within the Dublin & Glendalough dioceses who feel a calling to prayer ministry. No prior theological training is necessary; however every applicant must have their rector’s support and recommendation. Information and application forms have been mailed to all Dublin & Glendalough rectors.

If you are interested in taking part, please first contact your rector. As the date is approaching quickly, we ask that applications and recommendations be submitted as quickly as possible.

If you are in another diocese and would like to find out how such training can be offered where you are, please contact the central office.

Dublin & Glendalough Diocesan Service

The Annual Diocesan Service of Wholeness and Healing takes place on Sunday, 20th October, at 3.30pm in Christ Church Cathedral. With guest preacher Daniel Nuzum and music from the cathedral choir, the service is sure to nourish the soul. There will be an opportunity for the laying on of hands and blessing with oil. All are welcome.


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