November Saints

Some time ago I heard a scientist on the radio say that human beings are “wired” to listen to the song of birds. Our early ancestors listened to birds because they told us water or food was nearby, or perhaps their silence warned of enemies approaching. I notice at our bird feeder, the birds are silent when a cat’s around.

Could we say the same thing about the saints? We’re “wired” to hear their song. We need them to tell us of another kind of water and food nearby– and enemies too. Just as different birds have their songs, we have different kinds of saints, and they’re our friends.

November presents an interesting mix of saints, beginning with the feasts of All Saints and of All Souls. A reminder that holiness is all around us, if we could see.

Every month we have a feast of Mary. This month, November 21th, we remember her presentation in the temple, an ecumenical feast celebrated by the churches of the east and the west. We always ask Mary to help us be “worthy of the promises of Christ.”

At the end of the month, Andrew, an apostle and brother of Simon Peter, is remembered . He’s the patron of the Greek Orthodox Church. Let’s remember the Christians who are separated from us, that we may be one. Let’s also draw closer to them.

St. Josaphat (November 14) tried, as a Catholic bishop, to bring about unity between the eastern and western churches; he was killed in a religious dispute in 1683. He saw the feasts and traditions shared by the two churches as a way to draw together. Good example for us to follow?

St. Martin of Tours (November 12) is especially remembered for his devotion to the poor. He gave half his cloak to a beggar, it’s said. As winter approaches he calls us to remember the poor and share with them.

St. Francis Xavier Cabrini (November 13) championed the cause of immigrants. Another pressing issue we need to remember today.

We’re going to remember St. Clement of Rome (November 23), the 3rd successor of St. Peter, who dealt with the changing church of his day and new structures in church leadership–from apostles to bishops to popes. Changes in church leadership seem to be taking place today, don’t they? Can Clement advise us how to handle them?

Just as in November, the calendar through the year brings before us men and women from all times and places, saints who faced the challenges of their day. They have a wisdom to pass on to us. We should listen to their song.

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