As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the most powerful moments for me when I was ordained was lying prostrate during the litany of saints.
As I lay there, I felt myself surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses – interceding for me and offering me examples of the love and mercy of God which I felt called to follow in a special way by being an ordained deacon – and not just an occasional servant. But this communion of saints includes not only those who are acknowledged by the church; nor does it only include those who has passed from this life; we are living in the midst of the saints, the “holy” people of God who struggle to live lives of mercy and faithfulness.
Today the Gospel is Matthew’s version of the Beatitudes and I’d like to recall some of the “saints” who have inspired me – some living, some gone to be among the saints in the heavenly presence of God.
Blessed are the poor in spirit
Two couples who are trying in the midst of jobs to live as families who are open to the poor and to the demands of justice.
Blessed are those who mourn
Two friends who recently lost premature twins and have shown such great faith and tranquility but still experience the loss.
Blessed are the meek
Gentle-spirited Juan Ángel Pérez, a thirty-one year old delegate of the Word in a poor community, who died a few weeks ago.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice
Blessed Monseñor Oscar Romero, the Salvadoran archbishop who found himself more and more taking up the cause of the poor and was martyred at the altar for his identification with the poor.
Blessed are the pure of heart
The Franciscan sisters I know and work with in Honduras who are examples of committed wisdom who “will one thing” – the presence of a loving God in the midst of the poor.
Blessed are the peacemakers
Servant of God Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker, who lived among the poor and sought peace and justice for the poor.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for the cause of justice
Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian peasant with a wife and family who refused to serve in Hitler’s army, and was imprisoned and beheaded for his faithfulness to a God of life.