Tag Archives: All Saints

All Souls Day: November 2

All Saints Day and All Souls Day belong together. On the Feast of All Saints we thank God for calling all to holiness as his children. All of us are called to be numbered among the saints of God.

On All Souls Day we remember that we are all weak and sinful and depend on the mercy of God.  We can lose hope in our call, and so on All Souls Day we ask God’s mercy for ourselves and those who have gone before us in death.

Listen to our prayer at Mass:

“Remember, also, our brothers and sisters, who have fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection, and all who have died in your mercy. Welcome them into the light of your face. And have mercy on us all, we pray, that with the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the blessed Apostles and all the saints who have pleased you throughout the ages, we may be coheirs to eternal life and may praise and glory you, through your Son, Jesus Christ.( 2nd Eucharisitic Prayer)

We pray for all who hope in Christ’s resurrection, and also for “all who have died in your mercy.” All Souls is a day we pray for all who have died.

We begin our prayer on All Souls Day with St. Paul’s words to the Thessalonians and Corinthians, affirming God’s promise of eternal life to all humanity:

“Just as Jesus died and has risen again, so through Jesus God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep and as in Adam all die so also in Christ all will be brought to life.”

At the Communion of the Mass, we hear the words of Jesus:

“I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord. Whoever believes in me even though he die will live and anyone who believes in me will never die.”

Yet death saddens us; it can weaken our faith. Praying for the dead strengthens our faith and benefits those who have gone before us. In our opening prayer we ask for stronger faith.

Listen kindly to our prayers, O Lord,
and, as our faith in your Son
raised from the dead is deepened,
so may our hope of resurrection for your departed servants
also find new strength.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.

“It’s a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the living and the dead.” Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

All Saints Day

 

Christ alpha om

We usually think of Mary, the mother of Jesus, apostles like Peter and Paul, or extraordinary individuals like Mother Teresa when we think of saints. True friends of God.

Besides  them, the Feast of Saints reminds us of unnumbered others in God’s company. In a vision of heaven, St. John saw “a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue.” {Revelations 7, 9-13} We hope we will join them one day.

Our hope rests on a promise Jesus made:

“See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are…
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.” (1 John 3,1-3)

How shall we reach that place where we’ll be revealed as children of God? Jesus says to follow him and live as he taught. He shows the way in his Sermon on the Mount, our gospel reading for this feast. He will be the way, the truth and the life.

We haven’t seen yet that promised  life. We haven’t completed our lives here yet. This feast reminds us of the hope God reveals.

Extraordinary saints are not the only ones in heaven. There is a multitude of others, not a few. God welcomes countless others, saints unnoticed here on earth, saints with little to show, saints who were sinners. People like us.

Celebrating  this feast, remember your destiny, St. Bernard says:

“Rise again with Christ and seek the world above and set your mind on heaven. Long for those who are longing for us; hasten to those who are waiting for us, ask those who are looking for our coming to intercede for us. Desire their company and seek a share in their glory. There’s no harm in being ambitious for this. No danger in setting your heart on such glory.

“Remembering the saints inflames us with a yearning that Christ our life may appear to us as he appeared to them and that one day we may share in his glory.”

All Saints

Years ago I wrote a book on the lives of the saints honored in our church calendar. Saints like Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the apostles, the martyrs, founders of great religious orders, men and women recognized for their great holiness.

It was a hard book to write and I’ve never felt satisfied with it. My dissatisfaction isn’t just  from not capturing their lives as well as I would have liked. I think it’s because we can’t capture what the saints experience at all.

A saint is someone who enjoys a completed life, a life we haven’t seen yet, a life we hope for. “We feebly struggle while they in glory shine.” We can never capture the final steps of their story.

The letter of St. John we read today on the Feast of All Saints tells us that. We haven’t seen yet what God intends us to be. We haven’t completed our lives yet; we complete our lives when we join the company of the saints.

“See what love the Father has bestowed on us

that we may be called the children of God.

Yet so we are…

Beloved, we are God’s children now;

what we shall be has not yet been revealed.”

The saints we honor in our calendar led extraordinary lives; they were shining examples of faith, hope and love and changed the world they lived in.  What’s interesting about today’s feast of All Saints is its promise that they’re not the only ones in heaven. There are unnumbered saints in God’s company, saints who lived obscurely, without any sign of the extraordinary.

People like us.

I like St. Bernard’s advice about saint-watching in today’s Office of Readings:

“We must rise again with Christ, we must seek the world which is above and set our mind on the things of heaven. Let us long for those who are longing for us, hasten to those who are waiting for us, and ask those who look for our coming to intercede for us. We should not only want to be with the saints, we should also hope to possess their happiness. While we desire to be in their company, we must also earnestly seek to share in their glory. Do not imagine that there is anything harmful in such an ambition as this; there is no danger in setting our hearts on such glory.

When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning: that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory.”