“To the church of God…to those…called to be saints…Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” — I Corinthians 1:1-3

In September, we begin a new Ecclesiastical Year and are given another opportunity to live a saintly life that brings honor and joy to the Lord. Thankfully, we have the Saints to remind us that with God all things are possible, and we also know that His Grace covers all our imperfections. More often than not when thinking of Saints, we picture the monks and nuns in the monasteries or the bishops and priests who so powerfully expound on the majesty of God and the teachings and dogmas of the Church.

But you and I know that we don’t have to go to a monastery or a theological school or history book to meet a saint. We probably have never met a Saint (with a capital “S”), for most Saints revered by the Church are from generations and ages past. But God continues to send us saints (with a small letter “s”), who have inspired us, coached us, been patient with us during our tantrums, understanding in our moments of confusion and misdeeds, accepting us back when we didn’t deserve to be forgiven and comforting us in our times of frustration and self-denigration, when we damagingly loath ourselves. We thank God for them, our mothers and fathers, yiayias and papous, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, teachers and coaches and priests and Sunday School instructors, youth advisors and parish leaders. We have learned that all Saints are not sinless, for Jesus Christ is the Only Sinless One. Not withstanding our sins and shortfalls, we all have the ability, at times, to be Christ-like. We can play important roles in the Christian formation of those with whom we meet and interact.

I remember my mother and yiayia, my father and papou who taught me so much, not only with words, but by who they were, principled, dedicated and devoted to honoring God their heavenly father.  They knew God, they talked to God, they served God.  

My mother would nurture me daily with her words, her advice, her admonitions and her discipline.  My father seldom gave advice but lived a live that inspired me by his willingness to sacrifice his all to support his wife and family, as well as his extended family back in Greece.  

During this month may we all take time to reflect on those individuals who played an important role in our Orthodox Christian formation. Let us with deep gratitude remember those saints in our life-time that God has sent to teach, protect and model saintly acts for us that have so enriched and ennobled us by their witness of God’s love and care.

Thank you Lord for sending us these “living saints!” May we also, by your grace, be “living saints” to others! So many have modeled this state of being for us, let us model this same character for those that come into our lives. In looking back at my life I realize I have already met several saints in my lifetime that God has sent to teach, protect and model a saintly life for me.

Today, tonight, and in the days ahead, review your life and identify those whom God has sent into your life who have helped you become the Christian that you are; the person who brought out the best in you and who modeled what it means to be a Christian. Thank God for these individuals who have kept you on the path that leads into God’s Eternal Kingdom.