An ISIS bomb tragically exploded in the middle of a crowded part in the old city of Istanbul in the early afternoon just as our plane landed. Ten people died that day – sent to their own eternal judgement. Undeterred by concerns for our own safety, we continued on through the Istanbul airport, (a terminal which was rocked by another bomber several months later) with our My Saint My Hero product development mission which took us to a remote part of the Turkish coastal region. Faced with these moments, you ask yourself existential questions. What is life worth? Or maybe better yet, what is it NOT worth? At the end of our lives, we will each be faced with what we did for ourselves…but the only testament we will have on our behalf is what we did for God, and what we did for others. The saints, those whom we celebrate today, lived their lives in testament to a love much greater and more profound than their own self preservation. How do YOU live yours?
St. John the Evangelist had been exiled to the Island of Patmos, across the Aegean Sea from modern day Turkey, because the Roman Emperor Diocletian was afraid of losing control due to a new way of understanding the dignity of each human being – Christianity. There in a remote cave up in the hills, St. John received his visions which he documented in the Book of Revelation – particularly that of hundreds of millions of saints washed in the blood of the lamb and testifying to the love of the self sacrificing lamb, Jesus Christ.
The communion of saints is perhaps the greatest body of creativity ever found in the history of man – musicians, artists, lawyers, grandpas and dads, children and mothers, highly educated and the most simple, royal blood and paupers, actors and pop stars and librarians and teachers, miraculous and yet also natural. There is no school of thought or culture which has SO unlocked the secret cache of human potentialities except for this universal body of people. When looking at the wealth of saints, both formally and informally recognized, it seems there is nothing formulaic about sanctity…about living the holy life. Yet what did they have in common?
THEY love…and not themselves. If anything, they defy the message that eternal fulfillment comes from self love. They consistently empty themselves of self absorption in order to be filled by a Creator who created them to love. THEY love God, and live lives which return again and again to the practice of loving God.
“To become saints means to fulfill completely what we already are, raised to the dignity of God’s adopted children in Christ Jesus…The saints bring to light in a creative fashion quite new human potentialities….The saints are themselves the living spaces into which one can turn….One might say that the saints are so to speak, new Christian constellations, in which the richness of God’s goodness is reflected. Their light, coming from God, enables us to know better the interior richness of God’s great light….Nothing can bring us into close contact with the beauty of Christ himself other than the world of beauty created by faith and light that shines out from the faces of the saints, through whom his own light becomes visible.” – Pope Benedict XVI
Like Pope Benedict said, show the world the wonderful light of Christ. On today’s feast day, love like they did. Let us surround ourselves with this communion of people who reveal the beauty and creativity of God and then let us live our lives in such a way that in our last days on earth, we might join their magnificent ranks.
-Thomas/My Saint My Hero COO