Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Saints and the Beatitudes

This Sunday, November 1st, is celebrated as the Solemnity of All Saints in the Catholic liturgical calendar. It's one of my favorite feast days because it always calls to mind the great diversity of spirituality that is present in the Church. There's literally a Saint for every person's taste. If you are the intellectual type, we have great Saint-geniuses like Thomas Aquinas and Sr. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross (St. Edith Stein). If you prefer deeply mystical Saints, there is St. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila. If the Saints that had more active apostolates are your thing, you can draw inspiration from Mother Teresa or St. Vincent de Paul.

Fr. Robert Barron, in his homily for All Saints Day, brings up the interesting idea that we should not only foster a devotion to those Saints to whom we feel an affinity, but we should try to get closer to others who we aren't particularly attracted to--or even feel an aversion to. For example, if you think that St. Therese of Liseuix was a little too sweet and girlish, perhaps you need to get to know her better. And if you can't get into St. Padre Pio because you think he is a little strange, all the more reason you should learn about him and even ask his intercession. The idea is that, since all of the canonized Saints have some kind of valid spirituality, perhaps these saints possess that facet of spiritualty that may be lacking in our own lives. In our daily lives, aren't we called to love those that we are not naturally attracted to (Matthew 5:43-48)? Perhaps this is a way of growing in that virtue.

At any rate, in honor of all of the Saints, those holy friends of God who have finished the good fight before us and are now cheering us to heavenly victory (Hebrews 12:1-2), here is the Litany of the Saints.

Also, the Gospel reading for this Sunday is Matthew 5:1-12, which features the Beatitudes. You can go to my weekly Bible Study discussing this and the other Sunday readings here. Also linked below is the best series of articles I know of on the Beatitudes. It is from the Rosary Light and Life page which maintains an on-line newsletter chock-full of high quality articles on just about every Catholic theological or spiritual subject you can think of. I highly recommend it!


  1. hello, i was just wondering if you could help me with my school assignment ?
    Can you please tell me why you think the 'Beatitudes' reading is appropriate to the Saints ?

    Hope you can help, Thankyou

  2. Hi Anonymous -- thanks for the question. While I could probably give you my limited opinion in this very small space, I think I have a better idea: I've posted your question over at the Catholic Answers Forums, which is the largest Catholic on-line community in North America. The people there are knowledgable and helpful, and I'm sure you'll get enough answers there to help you complete your homework assignment.

    Here is the link where you will be able to view the responses to your question:

    You may want to consider joining the CA Forums yourself. It's free and easy to do so, and it's a good resource for getting questions answered. Hope that helps! :)

  3. Hi was wondering, which saint do you think follows the majority of the beatitudes? many saints may follow some but do they follow all? what saint would be an example to this?

  4. Without going into each of the Beatitudes and how they apply to him, overall I would say that St. Francis of Assisi is widely considered to be the epitome of how a disciple of Jesus lives the beatitudes. From the accounts of his life, we can see that he was humble, had a spirit of poverty, strove to establish peace and reconciliation (both between man and God, and between men), and all the rest.

    We can know this about St. Francis because his life was so well biographed and numerous books have been writen about him over the centuries, but I think we can look at almost any of the Saints and, if we have as much or at least sufficient knowledge of their lives and apostolates, we can say the same thing about them.