All Saints Day

On All Saints Day it's good to be reminded that the saints of old, venerated in stained glass and icons, were all flawed people just like the rest of us. Saints have been described as people that the light shines through, but all had their dark side and dark experiences.

In 'A Short Story About Saints and Bullies' Nancy Rockwell reflects on the story of Zacceus and how Jesus saw the saintly potential in him, a man others held in contempt. She links this with the stories of other saints and heroes who were certainly not seen as perfect or were bullied and despised by others. She writes:
"Saints are people who are windows in this world.  The light of God shines through them so brightly that people say they have seen salvation in them, and in the household of their lives.  A remarkable thing about them is that many were scapegoats early in their lives, bullied and called contemptible by folks around them.   To mention a few: 
St. Francis of Assisi’s father dragged him into court in the town square, enraged because his son had secretly arranged to steal his father’s valuable assets, and given them to monks to sell for support of the poor.  He was found guilty.  Then, as a monk himself, he angered the local bishops by creating his own liturgies, including animals in his congregation. 
St. Teresa of Avila was considered a nut and way too outspoken for a woman, and shocking in her opinons. 
Juliana of Norwich lost her entire family to the plague, and had visions so extraordinary no one knew what to make of them. 
Mother Teresa expressed her strong doubts about God, in writing.  And became a nun to escape life in her small town in Skopje, Macedonia. 
Oskar Schindler, who saved Jews from death in World War II Germany, was a Nazi, womanizer and a drunk, who used his popular and deserved reputation as a scoundrel as a cover for what he was doing. 
Nelson Mandela was considered a public enemy by the government of South Africa, which put him in jail for 27 years, during all of which he was a beacon of hope for black South Africans. 
Like Zaccheus, these saints, and so many others, flouted public conventions in ways that were painful for them, but also allowed them to let God’s light into this world."

For all the saints who let the light shine in darkness,
thanks be to God

Other posts for All Saints Day:

A Sonnet for All Saints Day written by Malcom Guite
All Saints Day - on this blog - with a fun element
All Saints Day at St Paul's or anywhere else - on this blog - with a challenge


  1. Saint Paul calls all Christians saints, so saints are bound to be a very mixed bunch. :-) One of my favourite feast days.


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