By Virginia Vollmer
This current issue of The Family Seton comes out on November 1st, also known as the Feast of All Saints. We celebrate all the saints known or unknown who have attained heaven. As Catholics we believe there is a bond between those in heaven and those on earth. We on earth ask for intersession through prayers to the saints in heaven. We ask them to aid and guide us in the way of Jesus so we too can attain heaven. And so, on All Saints Day we give thanks to God for the lives and deaths of the saints.
Each of us has a favorite saint or two (or three and more!). Do you have a devotion to your name day saint? Do you honor the saint on whose feast day you were born? Which saint’s name did you choose for confirmation and why? What of those of your parents, siblings, spouse, children, grandchildren? Sometimes this saint had a special place in our prayer life for decades.
My confirmation name is Therese- for St. Therese of Lisieux, with childish thoughts I liked the idea that she was shown carrying roses: The Little Flower. I didn’t think of her for decades until I picked up her autobiography a few years ago and re-learned and have tried to emulate her Little Way of Life. Many of us pray to St. Anthony of Padua when we need to find a lost item. Catholic folklore states that St. Joseph can help us sell a house (and then bless the new house). We may know priests, nuns, and laity connected to different orders (Franciscans, Dominicans, Benedictines, Redemptorists, Canossians, Jesuits). Many of the founders of these orders are favorite saints
So how, on this All Saints Day, can we acknowledge the saints that are present to us in so many ways? In addition to attending Mass we can pray the Litany of Saints. How about creating your own litany of favorite saints? Or look up the feast days for each of your favorite saints and make a note on your calendar to attend Mass on that day, or offer a special prayer.
There is a meditation practice called Visio Divina (visual prayer). One meditates upon a religious image as opposed to Lectio Divina where one meditates upon a Bible verse. Many of us have prayer cards or prints of saints. Select one for today, light a candle, and prayerfully consider the image. What stands out to you- a color or shape? Is a gesture or the arrangement catching your attention? As you continue to reflect on the image, what does God want you to know through this saint? Respond to God through a prayer, writing in a journal, or maybe drawing, dancing or singing.
May you have a deepening connection not only to your favorite saint, but to the Communion of Saints.