Saturday, November 1, 2008
Feast of All Saints
This feast of All Saints began in the Eastern Church for all the martyrs but by the 9th century the entire Roman Church was celebrating all the saints on November 1 to replace the pagan feast.
The Communion of Saints is one of the most consoling doctrines of our faith. It is really "a communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven all together forming one Church." This quote is from Paul VI and is cited in Peter Vaghi's The Faith We Profess: A Catholic Guide to the Apostle's Creed (Ave Maria Press, 2008). I love thinking about all the saints in my own family who are still praying for me in some way. Then there are all the canonized saints the Church gives us to help us on our journey to God.
The Preface for today's feast sums it up well: Today we keep the festival of your holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, our mother. Around your throne the saints, our brothers and sisters, sing your praise for ever. Their glory fills us with joy, and their communion with us in your Church gives us inspiration and strength as we hasten on our pilgrimage of faith, eager to meet them."
Lord, may the glory of the saints fill us with joy and inspire and strengthen us!
The first reading from the book of Revelation gives us the "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...They cried out in a loud voice, "Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb."
The Gospel gives us the the Beatitudes, the heart of the teaching of Jesus and the way to live in order to be with the saints in heaven.