There isn't a parish in this fair green isle without its patron saint, which is evident in the names of schools up and down the length and breadth of Ireland.
Without a doubt, in Ireland there is a deep and earthy spirituality which has never been truly understood by those from outside the country, but it is there all the same.
No matter what faith one is, and those even who believe they do not have one, they respect the long history of belief and spirituality which exists and that in itself is testament to the respect in which it should be held.
We can go back over at least 500 years - Ireland of the Saints and Scholars - to find the local saints and many will be aware of Ss Patrick, Brigid, Colmcille and Brendan to name but a few. On the more local scene, one only has to look at each diocese in Ireland (of all denominations with such a structure) and you will quickly become aware of Ss Senan, Kevin, Gobnait, Finbar, Kieran et al.
These people were chosen as models for the newly forming and formed faith in the evolving parishes to live up their ability as humans to be as generous, kind and cogniscant of their human frailty in their daily lives.
By their actions, words and lives, they lived the truly Christian message of love one another as I have loved you which can be found in the Gospels, and was (and still is) a driving force for us to reflect upon.
What has this to do with All Saints Day I hear you ask...well...on a personal level, knowing I am as human as the rest of you all who take time to drop in here, my everyday obligation is to serve.
Sometimes I have shared my human frailties here and this time, on this day, I must pay due respect and acknowledgement to our saints of today who work away quietly and they are all around us if only we take the time to notice...
* the single mother rearing the child(ren) on her own for various different reasons;
* the widow(er) who is so giving despite their own grief;
* the medical/emergency personnel who are there to help in every way possible to save lives;
* the parents of sick/disabled children who show great patience and love;
* the elderly who have lived such difficult lives and still manage to smile;
* the young who have their own inner struggles in life, yet are there to help others despite society often undermining them;
* the unemployed who never give up despite being told no job here;
* the homeless who share the spiritual bed of the newborn Christ;
and all others who live their lives as best they can...in other words you and I.
We do not realise that our daily actions and words can be inspiring others in ways we may never know about...we are all saints but it is how we put that into action only we ourselves know how.
Despite these tough times here in Ireland and indeed all around the world, we are all called to serve each other to survive and rid ourselves of the selfishness which was so prevalent for far too long in the Celtic Tiger of Ireland long since disappeared.
What does not have a place here is that selfishness and loathsome arrogance of new found wealth brings and let us return to the most basic of all things - being unselfish which is very much the definition of a saint.
It is not easy to deny we need saints today, but let us not deny ourselves or others the benefit of our selflessness and make this world a little easier.
We are sinners and we are saints - God wouldn't have it any other way!!
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