Thursday, October 29, 2009


A man who arranged for Christians to be executed… --became a preacher
A man who fathered a child by a live-in companion… --became a bishop
A man who lusted for glory in battle and the conquests of women… --founded a religious order
A man whose military ego was so great he refused to surrender a castle when greatly outnumbered… --founded a religious order
A man whose goal as a priest was to be chaplain to the aristocracy and live in wealth & comfort…
--founded a religious order
A prostitute… --became a nun

These are some of the heroes we celebrate on the Solemnity of All Saints, this year occurring on “fall back” Sunday. You might have some fun guessing who these folk are—some are obvious, and others are less so.

Do we think we are fit more for the commemoration of all the dead (All Souls Day) on Monday? Perhaps we do. Perhaps others who actually belong in the ‘communion of saints’ are some we would have thought could not ‘pass muster.’ At the end of his most recent book, Have a Little Faith, Mitch Albom has a character make the following comment, in the course of a conversation about a reformed addict now an inner-city preacher:

“…maybe he ain’t the way you think a pastor should be.
…But it’s not me against the other guy. It’s God measuring you against you.
Maybe all you get are chances to do good, and what little bad you do ain’t much bad at all. But because God has put you in the position where you can always do good, when you do something bad—it’s like you let God down.
And maybe people who only get chances to do bad, always around bad things, like us, when they finally make something good of it, God’s happy.”

And what was preacher Henry saying that made such an impact?

“When [people from back when who knew me] hear I’m the pastor of a church, all of a sudden, it’s like ‘I know you gettin’ paid, boy…I know you.’ …’No,’ I say. ‘You knew me. …you don’t know the person that I’m trying to become. …’You are not your past!’”

If we can believe these excerpts, then we can become saints, too. What good do we have a chance to do? What past would we like to escape and grow from? The folks at the beginning of this post did this; why not us?

If we say YES to Jesus, we’ll not have it easy, but we’ll be on the right path. Like the sign in front of a church said: “When the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of your future.”


  1. I know two of these saints. Probably the most obvious ones. Would you post an answer key after some time?

  2. I'm playing catchup on reading your articles. They are excellent. Did you post the answers? I would be interested in seeing them.
    Sarah Lee