Disciples, Apostles, and Saints!
When our bishop comes to visit, she is fond of calling out to the congregation, “Good Morning, Saints!” From her mouth, it is a term of endearment and inspiration. As if to say we do not need to be elected after death to sainthood, for we already embody a saintliness now.
As people of faith, this aspiration, to be saintly, is certainly motivating for many of us. And granting us all that universal designation of “saint” helps us genuinely embody a familiarity with goodness we might otherwise say is “for other people.”
Most of us, however, are prone to label as saint someone far more extraordinary. Someone whose work is remarkable and impact on the lives of others, significant. Favorite teachers, doctors, or social workers are frequently the saints who change our lives for the better.
We are also drawn to elevating loved ones who came before to sainthood. Mothers and Fathers, grandparents, siblings. Treating them like saints in death gives us a chance to hope they are honored by God.
These, of course, are all recent phenomena. The tradition is far more restricted. All Saints Day is for those designated as saints. All Souls Day is for everyone else.
To be honest, I really don’t mind that distinction. Because I don’t need the most saintly person I’ve ever known, my Grandma, Joyce Faustman, to be numbered among the saints. For she was, after all a most remarkable disciple and apostle of Jesus. And the kind of person I aspire to be. And that, for me, is enough. And also the point.