Nov. 1, 2016

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ALL SAINTS

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE FEAST OF ALL SAINTS

 

  • The feast of All Saints is celebrated in the Catholic Church on November 1st of every year.
  • It is a holy day of obligation especially if the feast falls on a weekday.
  • All Saints' Day was formally started by Pope Boniface IV, who consecrated the Parthenon at Rome to the Virgin Mary and all the Martyrs on May 13 in 609 AD, the same Pope established All Souls' Day (November 2nd), which follows All Saints.
  • All Saints has become one of the Catholic Feasts observed by some other Christian communities nowadays.

All Saints is a feast of great inspiration and motivation. It is our feast because it reminds us that we can make heaven despite our sins. We celebrate all the saints today, men and women who were like us. When we mention Saint John or Saint Catherine, Saint Paul or Saint Jerome, Saint Patti or Saint Marlene, we remember our brothers and sisters who struggled like us. Then we remind ourselves that we too can be like them when we die. Think of the saint as that your neighbor who walks past your house every day. He greets you each time he passes. He looks in to be sure you’re doing alright. Think of the saint as that your colleague at work with a passion to help others. She’s always willing to step in with good words. She invites you to lunch, and directs you to valuable resources. She harbors no malice. She is preparing way for her sainthood. Saints are not strangers, they are friends. And now they’re in heaven. We call them the Triumphant Church. What distinguished them is that they lived the life of the beatitudes.

The beatitudes are the litany of “Blessedness” that Christ pronounced in the gospel- "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in Heaven" (Matt.5:1-12).

The beatitudes are not check lists for evaluation. They are not legal restrictions meant to indict or condemn us. They are enhancers to salvation. Christ gives them to us as yardsticks for happiness. To be blessed means to be favored, to be happy and to be recognized by God. When the angel Gabriel came to Mary, he announced to her, "Rejoice, you who enjoy God's favor" (Lk.1:28-29). Like the Blessed Virgin Mary, the favored are those who rejoice. So, the Beatitudes guide us while All Saints inspire us to live out the beatitudes.

We can be saints through being peaceful, pure, patient, merciful. The beatitudes are not separated one from the other. Think about your grocery list if you plan to go shopping. You may decide to eliminate some items, yet your list remains relevant. It's not the same with the beatitudes. Like the ten commandments, they are knit together. They are meant to be lived, not to be checked off.

Today, we remember that God has blessed us in Christ. Let's think of the numerous opportunities to make saints- our families, our neighbors, our friends, our colleagues, etc. The saints lived in similar environments while in the world. They appreciated their fellow human beings. They served their families, friends, neighbors, colleagues in humility, sincerity, peace and love. Why not love, forgive, serve, care for others, in order to be saints? That’s the way to join the traffic of saints making their way to heaven. It’s a matter of telling myself, “I want to make heaven”. “I can make heaven”. “I will make heaven”. My GPS is the beatitude; “Now let’s go”.

May the Saints unite to intercede for us. Amen.