ALL SAINTS DAY NOVEMBER 1
We have two major feasts this week in our Church which reminds us of what we profess in the Apostles Creed. as a dogma of our Faith. “I believe in the Holy Spirit. the holy Catholic Church, the Communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.
We too are part of that “Communion of Saints.” We are “the pilgrim Church” on earth still making our way back home, striving to become saints. We are sometimes called the “Church Militant,” because we continue to struggle with the world, the flesh and the devil.
Another part of the Communion of Saints are the holy souls in purgatory, not yet purified and perfected, but will one day enter heaven. We believe that God in his mercy purifies them and purges them of their sins and their effects so they may worthily enter into the presence of the all Holy God.
This purgation of sins and its effects is the reason we call the souls in Purgatory, the Church Suffering. It is painful in Purgatory just as it is here on earth when God breaks us from our addictions and willfulness. The souls in Purgatory also suffer because they are separated from full communion with God.
The Particular feast that calls attention to their plight is the Feast of All Souls celebrated on November 2. Souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves but can pray for us. So it is extremely important to pray for them that they soon may be purified and perfected. They pray for us now and will intercede for us when they get to heaven.
Finally, there is a group of saints already in heaven, already experiencing the Beatific Vision. All Saints day, a Holy Day of obligation in many parts of the world, is celebrated on November 1. We call these saints, the “Church Triumphant.” The communion of saints is truly God’s family. This should give us great encouragement. We are vast in numbers, too many to comprehend.
“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and sin… let us run the race, before us, with perseverance, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith who for the joy, set before Him, endured the cross, and is seated at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
ALL SAINTS DAY
All Saints Day is an opportunity to give thanks for all those who have gone before us in the faith. It is a time to celebrate our history. From the early days of Christianity, there is a sense that the Church consists of not only all living believers, but also all who have gone before us.
On All Saints Day we remember all those—famous or obscure—who are part of the “communion of saints Canonized Saints in heaven, souls in purgatory destined for heaven, and living saints among us. Retelling the stories of saints grounds us in our history. These memories teach us how God has provided for us through the generosity and sacrifice of those who have come before us. The stories of the saints encourage us to be all God has created us to be. Pray to the saints in heaven and purgatory to intercede for us.
Living saints among us could be our own family members. It could be that special family member that prays for all the other members. It could be a family member that not only taught us the faith but lived and modeled the faith, we practice today. On All Saints Day, let us give thanks for both the saints in glory and those on earth, who have led us to Jesus. Nobody is born a saint. It’s something you have to become. It is not easy but then is anything worthwhile easy.
Those saints in heaven were just like us in so many ways. Read their stories if you don’t believe me. They were people of appetites and longings, ambitions and disappointments, vanities and eccentricities.
They were sinners just like the rest of us. They struggled with sin and temptation, they’ve walked the journey toward holiness, sometimes stumbling, sometimes falling, but always getting back up and moving on, resolving to do better, to be better, to aim higher.
Who is a saint? A saint is blessed. Where do we find those blessings in Scripture? In Matthew 5, of course. Saints worked hard to become what Jesus called them to be in the Sermon on the Mount: To be poor in spirit. To be meek. To be merciful. To make peace. This is how we begin to become what Jesus called “blessed,” and what the Church calls saints. It’s a tall order. And it is nothing less than a call to greatness.
In truth, blessed par excellence is only found in Jesus. Indeed Jesus was truly poor in spirit, the afflicted one, the meek one, the one hungering and thirsting for justice, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemaker, and the one persecuted for the sake of justice.
We too, can participate in this blessedness in the measure we accept Jesus and follow him, everyone according to their own state in life. With Jesus the impossible becomes possible. Remember his apostles asking Jesus who then can be saved and Jesus’ reply, “Jesus replied, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”(Matthew 19:26). With Jesus’ help, only with His help, we are able to become “perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
Holiness demands a constant effort but it is possible for all since it is not just the work of man but is above all a gift of God. In our life all is a gift of his love. How is it possible to not respond to the love of the heavenly Father by leading a life of grateful children?
Perhaps, this week look up in book or on the internet a saint to reflect on, pray to intercede for you for some special grace that will bring you into closer relationship with Our Lord. One other suggestion, you may thank a living “saint” for being a model and inspiration for you and also thank God for putting that person in your life!
Lord God, you are glorified in your saints. In their lives on earth, you give us an example. In our communion with them, you give us their friendship. Around your throne, the saints, our brothers and sisters, sing your praises forever. With their great company and all the angels in heaven, we, too, praise your glory, now and forever. Amen.
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