Ordinary Saints

Not everyone is a saint.  We’d like to believe there is good in everyone, but not everyone exhibits the kind of extraordinary holiness and virtue we associate with saints.  I am an eyewitness to a lot of funerals.  I meet with families to talk about the music and hear eulogies and sermons that so often make the person being remembered seem to have been saintly.  Did people say those same kind words while the person was alive?  I know that my own father – a remarkable person in so many ways, but hardly a saint – acquired an aura of saintliness within the family after his death.  I would give almost anything to be able to go back in time and express that kind of appreciation to him while he was living.  But his goodness was of the ordinary kind that provides a safe and loving home and picks you up from play practice and cries when your cat dies because he knows how sad you are.

Today is All Saints Day, and it is the feast day for those exceptional people who have walked among us.  Those whose lives and works changed the world and caused the body of the faithful to be increased.  These were people who helped us see more clearly that God dwells among us and whose faith led them into danger, sacrifice and defiance.  All Souls Day is tomorrow, November 2, and that is when we have the special intention of remembering those we loved, those ordinary children of God who happened to be extraordinary to us.  That is when we make the liturgical acknowledgement that everyone is important to God and will be welcomed into everlasting life.  All souls, saint or no, faithful or not.

At St. Alban’s tomorrow evening at 7:00 pm there will be a service for those who need a quiet place to sit, pray, sing and listen to music that seeks to help us embrace those we loved but can hold no longer.  The choir will sing parts of Eleanor Daley’s lyrical Requiem, the fourth movement of which is a setting of the poem Do not stand at my grave and weep.  With a Celtic sensibility, these are words that help us find comfort in ordinary things as we mourn those we cannot see but still long to experience in our lives.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.        Mary Elizabeth Frye – 1932



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJS9h09yGEY&feature=related (this is a particularly lovely recording, if somewhat less interesting to watch)

This entry was posted in Sonya Subbayya Sutton and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Ordinary Saints

  1. Christian says:

    Very powerful message. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s