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THOUGHTS FROM SOLITUDE: For whom do we celebrate this feast today?

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(MindaNews / 1 November) – A blessed Feast of All Saints to all!

For whom do we celebrate this feast today? I believe this is not primarily for the canonized saints who have their own individual feast day. This is for those who have not been declared as saints by Rome, those who do not have their own statues and fiestas celebrated in their honor. We have met many of them – they are our loved ones, family, friends, colleagues who we believe are now in God’s presence in the company of the recognized Saints.

We visit their graves today even if All Soul’s Day is still tomorrow. We are celebrating our communion with them – the bond of love and friendship that death has not ended.

Let us remember that all of us Christians are called to be saints and becoming one is a lifetime effort.

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There is popular belief that to be a saint is to be holy, pious and sinless. That it means spending all our time in prayer. Many think that having visions and private revelations can qualify one to be a saint. Founding a religious order is an added qualification. Miracles are required.

To be a saint – to be holy – is to be more and do more than these. It is to live our faith to the full – to a heroic degree. It is not enough to pray unceasingly – we cannot spend all our time kneeling inside the church or the chapel. We have to do more and be more.

It means loving God and people – especially the poor – with all our strength. It means being merciful, kind, compassionate, truthful. It means a living a life of humble service, working for peace and justice, caring for the earth.

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It means becoming genuine disciples of Christ. Being a saint means recognizing our weaknesses and sinfulness. This requires personal perpetual conversion – becoming what God wants us to be, the best version of ourselves.

The greatest tragedy in our life is not to strive to become saints.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews.

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A native of Iligan City, Amado L. Picardal, CSsR, is a Redemptorist priest who has been assigned to Davao City and other parts of Mindanao. He was also assigned in Manila where he served as Executive Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Basic Ecclesial Communities Committee and in Rome as Executive Co-Secretary of the Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of the Union of Superiors General. He went around the Philippines several times on bike or on foot, for peace and justice.)

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