Of the many misconceptions that make Orthodox Christianity a mystery to the world around us, the importance and devotion to “the Saints” is up there. The walls of our churches are covered with their images, we constantly pray to them for assistance, and we even honour there bodies and relics. This special place given to the Saints in our churches leave many (including some Orthodox Christians) either wondering where Jesus Christ is in all this, or wondering if the Saints are some separate species. These are fair questions that in the light of Pentecost are answered.
The Church sets aside the Sunday following Pentecost to specifically remember all those who by faith and throughout the ages made manifest the work of the Holy Spirit, the proclamation that Jesus is the Son of God, who saves humanity from sin and death. True sanctity is the revelation of God’s infinite mercy and grace. This is truly the gift of the Holy Spirit, the mark of the Saints.
Maybe the most remarkable aspect of this life in the Holy Spirit by the Saints, was the fact they were regular people, all broken, and all fallen, and all in need of being saved by the Lord, just like you and me. The only thing that made them different, was that every fibre of their being knew they needed healing, and being saved by the Lord.
We are all called to be Saints, living an ongoing Pentecost, whereby the Holy Spirit brings remembrance of all the Lord’s saving work (Jn. 14:26). But this happens by accepting the fact we need help, asking the Lord for his saving grace and abiding presence, like the millions of Saints known and unknown who cried, “Abba! Father!” knowing “ it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Rm. 8:15-17).
May we all have such courage and faith.