All Christians are Saints.
Now don’t get too carried away, I probably don’t mean that they way you think it. (It did get your attention though, didn’t it.) I don’t mean, by “Saint”, the sort of person who gives off an aura or glow of holiness. Our current cultural definition of “Saint” has come to be used exclusively for those Christians who were either martyred for their faith, or for those who have lived lives of remarkable holiness. We might think of St. Paul, St. Francis, or a modern saintly person like Mother Teresa. Yet the truth is that in the New Testament, the word Saint is most commonly used to refer to the church members as a whole or in general, to mean those who follow Jesus.
You might say to me, Rob, I’m a Christian, but I definitely not a Saint. I am not that holy. I am just an ordinary person. I have some good qualities, but there lots of ways that I mess up and fall short in being the person I want to be. I have never would think of myself as a Saint.
Well, the word “Saint” comes from the Latin word “sanctus” which means “Holy” – so literally the word Saint means “Holy One”. Some of us Christian’s who were baptised as infants, like me, may not remember our baptism, but that is exactly what happened us. We are each made holy, made different from what we were before. Through the waters of our baptism we were and are blessed and are “set apart” and made “holy.” The sign of the cross was made on our forehead, marking our soul as Christ’s forever. Through baptism the gift of God’s Holy Spirit filled and fills us.
So baptism puts us the path and equips us with what we need to be a Saint. And as we have just celebrated All Saints Day this year, I would encourage to claim your Saint-hood. No one is passing halos or holy auras. And I would not suggest you add “Saint” in front of your name on your business card or that you start signing your name on your Christmas cards with it.
Instead, I would suggest that you start small. Put your Christian faith and Christ’s teachings into work a little each day. Remember and put into action those two commandments, to love God and to love your neighbour as you love yourself. Simple but challenging to find new ways to exemplify them each day. In the end, there may not be a specific day on the Calendar with you name on it to mark your Holy Day, but as you grow in your “saintliness” God will have countless days of blessings ahead for you.
Of course, each day we need to turn to God for strength and to our great example in Jesus Christ to help and guide us. I am reminded of the prayer of a Saint, St. Ignatius. It is a prayer that humbly prays to God for the gifts that will help us live and grow into being more fully the saints we called to be.
Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve as you deserve;
to give and not count the cost;
to fight and not heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek for rest;
to labour and not to ask for reward –
except to know that I am doing your will.