I remember one of my childhood friends explaining to me why she wore a St. Christopher medal, and I remember thinking how great it would be to have a saint protecting you. Shortly thereafter I read a novel set in the Middle Ages and the main character was named after the saint on whose feast day she was born. That saint was her patron saint, and how cool was that. I had saints on my mind.
I went to the encyclopedia and looked up the list of saints. I was disappointed to see I wasn’t so lucky to be born on the feast day of any saint. That’s par for my birthday course, I figured – when you’re a kid, not much is good about a birthday in August. . .but that’s another story.
Then I discovered on that list something called “All Saints Day” celebrating all saints. There you have it; an all-purpose, catch-all saints day! Anyone who cared could pile on and celebrate all the saints all together on one day and claim all saints; seemed sensible to me.
So perhaps it should just be that one of my most favorite hymns is “For All the Saints,” with the hymn tune by Ralph Vaughan Williams, written for celebration of the Feast of All Saints. In these latter days I’ve come to think of “all Saints” as not so much as being Christophers or Xaviers or Hildegards or Catherines, but more the Saints of Zion.
Nevertheless, every November 1st is my occasion to be especially grateful for all those who look out for me. This year the saints are working overtime, as they gave me another day today to feel perfectly fine. Alleluia.