sinners and saints

Happy All Saints Day! Today we stop and remember good and holy women and men who have gone before us. They are our heavenly mentors and guides here on earth.

When I was a child, I loved the stories of saints. Their lives were portrayed in glowing phrases, with even more glowing pictures. We placed them on pedestals of perfection, knowing we could never attain their heights of glory and holiness.

As an adult, I learned that even the saintliest of saints had a shadowy sinner side. My heroes were tarnished. They had vile tempers and moments of doubt. Their theology was sometimes questionable. Blessed are those who are persecuted in my name? Some saints were persecuted not for their holiness, but because they were just damn difficult to live with!

The pedestals were lowered, sometimes taken away all together. Saints were simply people like us trying their best to live a faithful life. They may not have been 100% holy, but they sought to be.

Today we are witnessing pedestals crumbling, one after another, beneath many who had achieved great heights of  worldly success. These secular heroes all had their cadre of adoring fans. They were models of achievement in their fields, garnering praise, prestige, power and money along the way. What were the causes of their falls from fame to infamy?

Sexual harassment. Rape. Lies. Fraud. Stealing. Money laundering. Sleazy dealings. etc and etc…

The world has always been populated with sinners and saints. We are all a composite of sinner and saint.

But why are so many blatant sinners populating the upper echelons of power in our society? Our governments? Our religious institutions? Our world? 

Today, Pope Francis tweeted,

On this Feast of All Saints, I pray…

That the light of justice will continue to shine on the corrupt, bringing to light the evils that are done in the dark. 

That the pedestals holding those who abuse power will implode under their feet. 

And I pray for saints…

Please, God, many saints. Good women and men who will bravely step forward to lead God’s people around the world on the path to justice and peace. Leaders who will use their power to serve, not to abuse . Leaders who will fight for the rights of all, not to line their pockets and those of their families and cronies. 

Amen, and Amen!

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