SO THE REAL SAINTS ARE …

So after All Saints’ (or Hallows’) Eve comes All Saints Day, of course.  I often think about who the real saints are.  I’m not entirely convinced that they are only those who are much more perfect or holy than the rest of us.  There are loads of people in the background who quietly play their parts and keep things going, but don’t get the appreciation that some noisier characters attract.

For all you quiet but invaluable people, this one’s for you.

And blessèd are the ones we overlook;
The faithful servers on the coffee rota,
The ones who hold no candle, bell or book
But keep the books and tally up the quota,
The gentle souls who come to ‘do the flowers’,
The quiet ones who organise the fete,
Church sitters who give up their weekday hours,
Doorkeepers who may open heaven’s gate.
God knows the depths that often go unspoken
Amongst the shy, the quiet, and the kind,
Or the slow healing of a heart long broken
Placing each flower so for a year’s mind.
Invisible on earth, without a voice,

In heaven their angels glory and rejoice.

(Malcolm Guite, from ‘Sounding the Seasons’:  Canterbury Press)

(image from cctv.cntv.cn)

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19 thoughts on “SO THE REAL SAINTS ARE …

  1. My dear mum was like that. She was always there to help neighbours and relations. She would never turn anyone away who called at the door. I realise now that some of the callers were just lonely old neighbours who wanted someone to talk to. She had obviously recognised that and did what she could to help them.

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  2. Now isn’t that just lovely! I know people like like who go about their daily lives helping others and keeping quiet about it and asking nothing in return….my gorgeous aunt was like that……sadly we lost her a few weeks ago.xxx

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  3. I love the poem.
    When I was younger on all saints day as children (aged around 7) we were told that by praying for our relatives souls on this day we sent them to heaven. we were duly sent off from school 4 at a time to church to pray crossing several main roads, I was trying to concentrate so hard on my praying as it seemed an important job. We had no supervision. can you imagine teachers sending groups of 7 year old off these days on their own.
    It always sticks in my mind on all saints day.

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  4. Amen to that, Gilly. I’ve known people I could almost regard as saintly but who aren’t formally acknowledged….
    In response, I’ll post one of my favourite poems, ‘Unsung Heroes’ by Felix Dennis.

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    1. I get fed up with my church sometimes – I remember an Archdeacon scoffing once because I’d thanked the flower ladies in the service. We’re not supposed to do ‘important’ and ‘less important’ in the church … ! :>

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      1. I think everybody is equally important. I used to teach primary children in a club on a Saturday for a whole year. One the caretaker did not turn up. We had to cancel the lessons and refund the parents. It was such an upheaval. If you do not value the people in their positions you cannot hold a superior position yourself. This is a fact of life.

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  5. People need role models. Saints are in a way role models for believers. That way we know what to strive for. But we all can live like saints. It does not really matter if we are acknowledged to be one.

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