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Standing on the Shoulders


Today is All Saints Day. It’s a day where we gratefully remember all of the saints, canonized or not. Each of us may have a favorite saint or a patron saint that we pray to or with – St. Anthony, St. Jude, St. Teresa of Avila, etc. And, each of us has our own saints we pray to or with – friends and family members that have gone before us.

All of these people are saints because they are stamped with God.

They showed us God and they have drawn us to God simply because of who they were and how they lived.

In my congregation, when we are celebrating Sisters (both living and deceased) who have been the foundation of the congregation, we have sung the song “Standing on the Shoulders” by Joyce Rouse.

Some of the lines are:
I am standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before me
I am stronger for their courage, I am wiser for their words
I am lifted by their longing, I am grateful for their vision

Our Church stands on the shoulders of thousands and thousands of saints.

You and I stand on the shoulders of the saints among our friends and families.

We stand on the shoulders of those who are blessed and have blessed us. We stand on the shoulders of those saints in our lives who have mentored us and modeled for us how to live in beatitude ways.

We stand on the shoulders of the Poor in Spirit. Those empty of illusions, giving God the space to fill them.

We stand on the shoulders of the Mourning Ones. Those who cared so deeply and are so full of compassion that they were not afraid to cry with, to hurt with, to feel with us in our pain and give us comfort.

We stand on the shoulders of the Meek. Those gentle ones. Those comfortable within themselves who knew the truth and spoke the truth. Those who by their very presence called forth truth and gifts in others.

We stand on the shoulders of those Hungering for Justice. Those with such a deep longing for truth. Those with a hunger for what matters for others.

We stand on the shoulders of the Merciful. Those that didn’t judge and were only loving. Those who are always ready to forgive.

We stand on the shoulders of the Peacemakers. Those that touched that deep and sacred place of peace within themselves so that they created peace-filled hearts in others.

And finally, we stand on the shoulders of the Persecuted. Those so compassionate to the truth that makes for freedom. Those that cared so much and loved like Jesus.

And we are stamped with God through our saints as we continue to live as peacemakers – merciful, compassionate, hungry for justice, as people of faith and commitment, and as people of love.

Because we are stamped with God, we continue to make every effort to live these Beatitudes and, in years to come, others will stand on our shoulders.

May each of us have the faith, hope, desire, and courage to live this reality.

Sister Eileen is a member of the RENEW staff, a spiritual director, and an avid Mets fan.

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