A meditation on sainthood and Sammy Esposito

Sammy EspositoAs a young boy, I was captivated by baseball stars, and I asked my Dad if a particular player was good. It may have been Sammy Esposito of the White Sox. His response was that, if Sammy was in the major leagues, he had to be good.

Yes, even if Sammy was only batting .167.

My thoughts go to that memory as we approach November 1, the Feast of All Saints. The Catholic Church has its own Hall of Fame of Saints, the official list of those canonized, and it includes such all-time greats as St. Francis of Assisi and St. Gertrude the Great. In addition, there are famous people who, unofficially, are considered saints, including Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King Jr.

people combo -- 44I wrote about that Catholic hall of fame in an op-ed piece last Friday in the Chicago Tribune, and I want to elaborate a bit more here.

At my parish on the Far North Side of Chicago, St. Gertrude, our roll of parishioners doesn’t include any official or unofficial saints. Yet, if you look around at a parish meeting or at church during Mass or on the court of a 7th grade basketball game, we’re surrounded by saints.

You, me, everyone — we’re all members of the Communion of Saints. That’s what it says right there in the Apostles Creed:

…I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

We are — each of us — called to be saints.

And, if we look at our daily lives, we’ll see that there are moments when we are saintly. It’s important to recognize those moments and build on them. That’s how Francis and Gertrude got to be the All-Star saints they became.

None of us is likely to reach the heights they did. We’re more like Sammy Esposito. Yet, even Sammy got better.

One year, he hit .235.

Patrick T. Reardon

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