Paul often addresses those he writes as “Saints” or “Holy Ones.” He is not writing to the dead who are in heaven but to the living, fallible Christians who are ‘saints’ because they have ‘washed their robes in the blood of the lamb,’ that is, they have been baptized.

It’s a good idea today to reflect on those ‘official’ Saints – with a capital ‘S’ – with whom we have some special connection.  Mary, perhaps, or St. Paul. Who are they – what did they do in their lives – but also who are they to me?  Is there something from my history that makes me want them as models or friends?

But it’s also a good idea today to reflect on those unofficial saints – with a small ‘s’ – with whom I have a personal connection. Who are the holy ones of my life, whether they are now with God or are currently living, perhaps in my home, or neighborhood, or city, or world. What do I admire in them, and why do I want them as models or friends? And don’t forget, then, to thank God for them.

—Fr. Dennis Dillon, S.J. serves as pastoral minister at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI. He is also an avid stamp collector and accomplished magician.