Saint Bonaventure Capuchin Monastery is a simple community in the heart of Detroit that was the home of soon-to-be beatified Father Solanus Casey. For Metro-Detroiter's, it is known as a place of prayer, reflection, and local pilgrimage. It is one of my favorite places to pray and be with God. Upon walking in you are greeted by eight life-size bronze statues. Each statue is of a holy man or woman who was a living example of the Beatitudes: people like Dorothy Day, Archbishop Oscar Romero, and Saint Teresa of Calcutta. For a period in my life, I had the hardest time understanding the Beatitudes. To me it felt like a secret code or language that Jesus was talking to the disciples . . . and I just did not get it!
Since then, I have come to understand the Beatitudes are not some spiritual version of Morse Code. Rather, they are a description of what we look like after personally encountering the Living Jesus. They are not another thing on our spiritual "to do" list, but a change in our attitude . . . a change in our heart, a change in how we see the world and other people.
These words of Jesus represent a radical reversal of values, turning the world's standards for happiness and security upside down. We are called to be peacemakers. We are called to lavishly offer mercy, not revenge. We are called to grieve and mourn of the evil and injustices rampant in the world. We are called to hunger and thirst to do the will of God and not settle for mediocrity. We are called to have a pure heart and mind. We are called to endure persecution bravely, knowing even Our Lord suffered during His life on Earth.
Sisters, when our lives resemble the Beatitudes, no matter the painful life circumstances, they bring a glimmer of the joy and hope of the Heavenly Kingdom into the affliction of the present world.
As we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints today, we honor and remember the lives of all the holy men and women who have gone before us. We ask their mighty prayers of intercession for each of our lives, that we would be a living example of the Beatitudes to an aching, broken world.
All Saints, Angels, Holy Men and Women of God, pray for us!
Patty Breen is a runner, youth minister ordinaire, and thinks old movies are the greatest thing since sliced bread. When not fundraising for World Youth Day, she is learning to find grace in all things. You can find out more about her here.