Today there was a baptism in my Church. It was a joyful occasion and the baby appreciated it with letting us know his lungs were in good order. Included in the service was a short litany of the saints so we were encouraged to ask St Andrew and St Stephen and one or two others to pray for us. The final request was to all holy men and women. I couldn't help wonder what the majority of the congregation thought this meant. Were they thinking about holy men and women who had died and now resided in heaven or holy men and women alive today? And would all these holy men and women all be Catholic or at least Christian? My interfaith journey has shown me that included among those holy men and women are saintly figures in other religions, including the founders of the great religions of the world such as the Buddha, Mohammed, Guru Nanak as well as ordinary men and women who strive to live a good life, some with religion and some without. This belief in what Catholics call the Communion of Saints is, for me, not focused on an afterlife but on the interrelationship of all living beings, past, present and even to a certain extent to come. We belong to a great human family and within that family are related to great men and women who have lived good and exemplary lives of service to others and made the world a better place for it. To know that we are connected to them can be a source of strength for us if we harness that goodness and use it to inspire and encourage us.
I am a Catholic nun, involved in interfaith relations for many decades. For me this has been an exciting and sacred journey which I would like to share with others.