Solemnity of All Saints, November 1
May We Always Follow the Compass Which Points to Eternal Life, Where We, Too, Shall One Day Become Members of the Church Triumphant with All Who Have Gone before Us, Those Who Have Left This Life in the Friendship of Almighty God.
“Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD? or who may stand in his holy place? One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain” – verses we read from today’s Responsorial Psalm, verses which speak of those who are blessed in the sight of Almighty God.
Today we celebrate the great Solemnity of All Saints Day – the Church Triumphant who stand in the very Presence of God Himself – glorifying God, giving Him thanksgiving and praise, and also interceding for each of us through their prayers. We honor all those, both the known and the countless unknown, who have walked through this valley of tears ahead of us, the same valley through which each one of us finds ourselves traveling today.
They, however, have survived the time of trial; they are all those who carried their crosses in this life with faith, and who have left this life in the friendship of Almighty God. Many have been recognized by the Church and are accorded the great privilege of being honored with the title of Venerable, Blessed or Saint. Some have been martyred for their beliefs; others survived and lived out their lives the best they could, becoming living witnesses to the same faith which you and I profess today.
Most, however, are those unnamed saints who lived their lives on this side of the eternal with no renown. Theirs was a life absent of any notoriety – fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, priests, deacons, religious, ministers and peoples of many different faith persuasions – ordinary people like you and me, whose holiness is known only to God Himself; and yet, are still members of the Church Triumphant, whose eternal residency is Heaven itself, and who constantly intercede for each of us, as we continue to experience our own crosses, our own trials, just as they once did here in this life.
Each of these souls – the known and the unknown – was no different than any one of us. They each had their own individual strengths together with their own weaknesses. Saint Peter is such an example. He was the first Vicar of Christ, about whom Jesus had said, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.”
Peter was a man who had his strengths, but he also had many weaknesses. We see him portrayed in Scripture as a man who was impetuous, a man who would oftentimes speak more quickly than he would think. And for as much as he loved Jesus and recognized our Lord as his Savior, he was filled with fear after Jesus’ arrest – and, in his fear, he became weak and denied our Lord not once, but three times.
Paul was a great missionary, filled with the zeal of spreading the Gospel message throughout the Middle Eastern countries of his day. But before he became a Christian, he was known as Saul, the murderer and persecutor of those who followed this new Way of belief, for Christianity was originally called “the Way”.
And some Scripture scholars also believe that, even as a missionary Apostle, Paul was a man who seemed to have had a rather “short fuse” at times. Yet, in spite of whatever personality weaknesses he may have possessed, he was still personally called by Jesus to spread the Gospel message to the Gentile peoples.
Thomas was a man who needed to see and touch in order to believe. James and John wanted to be seated next to Jesus in His Kingdom. The Gospels tell us that Saint Matthew was a tax collector, and Saint Mary Magdalene is recognized by some scholars, yet not all, as having practiced the oldest profession in the world.
And there are so many other stories about many of the saints throughout the history of Christianity which speak to us of their humanity, their propensity for weakness. Yet, we find in their weaknesses a mirrored image of ourselves. We find in the flaws they exhibited our own human frailties.
When we look to the lives of the saints, we see in them a vulnerability, which helps us to identify with them. Very often, due to the testimonies which many of them had written in their personal journals or diaries, they suffered from deep discouragement at their lack of progress and their frequent mistakes in their personal quest for holiness.
But what sets them apart from so many others is the faith which they lived, and they lived that faith with a love and a zeal which made the Church sit up and take notice – that these were people who were set apart from others by a selflessness and a charity, a love and a humility which was truly holy and Christ-like.
And it is that love and zeal they lived in their lives which become the examples for each of us to follow in our own individual walks of faith. The saints did not start out by being saints. They started out much the same way as you and I are living our lives today. What turned them around was recognizing that Jesus was the Source of their love, that Jesus was the True Example upon whom their lives should be patterned.
There is a lesson in all of this for each of us who are still struggling along our own path to holiness in this life – because growing up, patterning our lives after God’s image and likeness becomes a life-long pursuit. Holiness is truly a lifetime endeavor, and God truly understands the efforts we make in following Him. After all, He is the One who fashioned us; He is the One who knows us better than we know ourselves.
And Jesus gives us, in today’s Gospel, the means by which we can attain that life which is holy, that life which guides each of us into a right relationship with God Himself. The Beatitudes are more than just suggestions; they are a way of life for each of us to live at home, in the workplace, even at times when we find ourselves emotionally in a very deep and dark place in our lives.
For these nine Beatitudes, which Jesus teaches us, are the guideposts which become our road map to Heaven – our map to eternal life.
May these spiritual markers become the points on the compass enabling each of us to find our way to the life with which God wishes to bless us, so that we, too, may one day become members of that Church Triumphant with all who have gone before us, those who have left this life blessed with God’s everlasting friendship – always standing in the glorious Presence of the One who loves us beyond measure, giving Him thanksgiving and praise for all eternity!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD? or who may stand in his holy place? One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain” (Psalm 24:3-4)
- “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the one that is to come.” (Hebrews 13:14)
- “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. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:1ab, 2)
- “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” (Matthew 5:12a)
- “After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.’” (Revelation 7:9-10)
- “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9b)
- “I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.’” (Revelation 21:3-4)
Prayer for the Day
“Almighty and Most Merciful God,
You have renewed the face of the Earth.
Your Church throughout the world
sings You a new song,
announcing Your wonders to all.
“Lord Jesus, through a virgin,
You have brought forth a new birth in our world;
through Your miracles, a new power;
through Your suffering, a new patience;
in Your Resurrection, a new hope;
and in Your Ascension, new majesty.
“May each of us one day share in the glory of Your Eternal Majesty
as we gaze upon the beauty of Your Face,
where we shall come to know You as You truly are:
All-Holy, All-Powerful, All-Loving, All-Merciful.
For it is in our knowledge of You
which shall fill us with an unending joy. Amen.”
– cf. Psalm-Prayer (Roman Breviary)