Sunday, November 01, 2009

our family Litany of Saints

My least favorite, overly-secularized holiday behind us, we celebrate with hope and joy the feast of All Saints Day.  In our Christian tradition, this day serves as one to honor the saints -- that is, those who are in heaven -- both those given the title of "saint" on Earth and those known to God alone.  

We can think of the saints as friends outside of this life. They may not be living in the sense that we can see and touch them, but they *are* living.   And more importantly, they can pray for us.  Thus, we ask their intercession and trust that they include us in their prayers to God the Father.

As a liturgical musician, one of the most profoundly moving experiences of my service has been the musical praying of the Litany of the Saints, asking for God's mercy for our sinfulness and seeking the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her husband St. Joseph, and a host of holy men and women named saints, prophets, patriarchs, and martyrs.

Some saints by circumstances of their lives or virtue of their particular accomplishments have been named patron saints of certain groups of people, places, or life events. 

For our family we have crafted our own litany of saints.  Whether by virtue of their status as patrons of particular people in our family or attributes one or several of us possess (or hope to), we seek their prayers:

*Mary our mother, Queen of Peace
*Good Saint Joseph, patron of (among others) fathers, husbands, protectors; "a righteous man" (Matthew 1:18)
*St. Monica, patron of wives
*St. Nicholas of Myra, patron of (among others) children
*St. Gerard Majella, patron of expectant mothers
*St. Catherine of Siena
*St. Gianna Beretta Molla
*St. John Bosco, patron of (among others) boys, students, and young people
*St. James (the brother of John)
*St. Francis de Sales, patron of (among others) writers and educators
*John Paul the Great (his cause for canonization is underway, but not yet complete; still we trust he can offer his prayers for us)
*holy saints and angels
pray for us

Just as we ask for the prayers of and even advice from loved ones here on Earth, so we do of the saints in heaven.  We hope to emulate their particular qualities of holiness in our quest for everday sanctity.  God willing, we will one day be counted among them in heaven.

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