Readings Ecclesiasticus 44:1–10, 13–14 Psalm 149 Luke 6:20–26
"We regard the martyrs with the same affectionate intimacy that we feel towards holy men of God in this life, when we know that their hearts are prepared to endure the same suffering for the truth of the gospel. There is more devotion in our feeling towards the martyrs, because we know that their conflict is over; and we can speak with greater confidence in praise of those already victors in heaven, than of those still combating here."
— St. Augustine Contra Faustum Book XX
St. Paul addresses some of the early Christian communities as the Saints — the holy, the people of God — and we do well to think of our sisters and brothers in church in the same light. The gathered mystical body of Christ is one of the most profound glimpses of the Kingdom of God that we can have on this side of the grave, and it is literally holiness incarnate.
That being said, over the past couple of millennia, there have been a few Christians who have seemed to radiate God’s goodness to such a degree, that they lived as walking sacraments, showing forth God’s nature 24/7. For this tiny group, we reserve days of commemoration, seek to model our lives on theirs, and ask their prayers on our behalf.