A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Celebrating All Saints and All Souls

Pope Francis,
1 November 2019

Today’s solemnity of All Saints reminds us that we are all called to holiness. The Saints of all times, whom today we celebrate all together, are not simply symbols, distant, unreachable human beings. On the contrary, they are people who lived with their feet on the ground. They experienced the daily toil of existence with its successes and failures, finding in the Lord the strength to rise again and again, and to continue on their journey. From this we can understand that holiness is a goal that cannot be achieved only through one’s own strengths, but rather it is the fruit of God’s grace and of our free response to it. Therefore, holiness is a gift and a calling.

The saints we celebrate today in the liturgy are brothers and sisters who admitted in their lives that they needed this divine light, abandoning themselves to it with confidence. And now, before the throne of God (cf. Rev 7:15), they sing His glory for ever. … Let us walk towards that “holy city” where these holy brothers and sisters await us. It is true, we are wearied by the harshness of the road, but hope gives us the strength to move forward. Looking at their lives, we are encouraged to imitate them. Among them are many witnesses to a holiness “found in our next-door neighbours, those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence” (Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et exsultate, 7).

All Saints Day, Holy Cross Cemetery in Gniezno, Poland

Brothers and sisters, the memory of the Saints leads us to raise our eyes to Heaven: not to forget the realities of the earth, but to face them with greater courage, with more hope. May Mary, our most holy Mother, accompany us with her maternal intercession, as a sign of consolation and sure hope.

Source: Libreria Editrice Vaticana

On the first two days of November and through the month, we celebrate the saints we have known and know. We praise God for those who took care of the hungry, the poor, the migrants, the sick and all those in need. We bless God for those who stood up for what is right and promoted what is good and true and just, and who fought bravely to become better people.

We honour those who kept praying in the face of utter darkness, and who kept on battling against despair. We thank God for those who kept on forgiving in the face of rejection and hurt.

For all of these great people who have died, and for those still here in our midst, we thank God. And if you feel that God is being thanked for you, that’s fine, for you are part of this Communion of Saints, the kingdom made up of those who have gone before us, and those among us, who live Gospel lives.

Among other things, All Saints’ Day reminds us that we are born to be saints, and in our efforts under God’s grace to grow in holiness, no challenge is too much for us to overcome. We long to see God face to face, and we are called to give witness to God’s reign by living the beatitudes.

And as we celebrate the saints who have gone before us – our ancestors, parents, brothers and sisters, children, friends – we also celebrate that we are God’s own children, now and always. And because of our faith that we are God’s children, we live in hope that God will fulfil the promises made to us in Christ. Our faith is that eventually, as our ancestors do now, we will see God and become more fully like God.

Source: Marist Messenger, November 2016

Pope Francis
Laurentino Cemetery
2 November 2018

Today’s liturgy is realistic; it is tangible. It shows us the three-dimensional framework of life, three dimensions that even children understand: the past, the future, the present.

Today is a day to commemorate the past, a day to remember those who have walked before us, who have also accompanied us, have given us life. Remembrance is what makes a people strong, because it feels rooted in a journey, rooted in a history, rooted in a people. Remembrance helps us understand that we are not alone, we are a people, a people with a history, with a past, with a life. Remembering so many who have shared a journey with us …

Today is also a day of hope. A new heaven, a new earth, and the holy city, the new Jerusalem. A beautiful image which it uses to help us understand what awaits us:  “I saw the holy city ... coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelations  21:2). Beauty awaits us ...

And between remembrance and hope there is the third dimension, that of the path that we must and do take. And how do we take the path without making mistakes? Which are the lights that will help me avoid taking the wrong path? What is the ‘navigating system’ that God himself gave us, so as not to take the wrong path? It is the Beatitudes that Jesus taught us in the Gospel. These Beatitudes — meekness, poverty of spirit, justice, mercy, purity of heart — are the lights that accompany us so as not to lose our way: this is our present.

Life’s three dimensions are in this cemetery: remembrance, we can see it there [indicating the tombs]; hope, we will celebrate it now in faith, not in visions; and the lights to guide us on the journey so as not to lose our way. We have heard them in the Gospel: they are the Beatitudes.

On All Souls’ Day, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, 1839

Source: Libreria Editrice Vaticana


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