We remember in a special way that sanctity is accessible to everyone in their various jobs and situations, and that to help us reach this goal we ought to put into practice the dogma of the Communion of Saints. The Church invites us to raise our hearts and minds to the immense multitude of men and women from all walks of life who followed Christ here on earth and are already enjoying his presence in Heaven. This feast has been celebrated since the eighth century.
7/38.1 Sanctification through ordinary life.
Let us all rejoice in the Lord, as we celebrate the feast day in honor of all the Saints, at whose festival the Angels rejoice and praise the Son of God.
As we recall today with particular attention, Blessed John Paul II pointed out that a wealth of Christian truth is at the core of the Liturgy, in a special way on the Feast of All Saints. Here lies the fount of all holiness, God himself. Herein we practice the Communion of Saints through Christ in a particular way. The supernatural last end of universal redemption is signified in the Mass. It is the source of sanctity for all those who strive to practice the Beatitudes as described by Our Lord. From the Mass comes an indestructible hope in future glory and here we find the key to the relationship between suffering and salvation. The late Roman Pontiff emphasized:As we pray in the ‘Entrance antiphon’, the fundamental dimension of the feast we celebrate today is joy: ‘Let us rejoice in the Lord and keep festival in honor of all the saints.’ The experience is similar to what we savor in a large family where we are very much at home. Included in thislarge family are the saints in heaven and those striving for sanctity on earth as well.
Our Mother the Church invites us today to bring to mind in a special way those who have experienced difficulties and temptations similar to our own during life, yet in the end triumphed over them. There is a great multitude, which no man could number, out of all nations and tribes and tongues as the First Reading of the Mass relates. They are sealed on the forehead as the servants of God. The Church recognizes many saints of every age and condition today. We remember them each year and also have recourse to them as intercessors for our various needs. The seal they receive and their white robes washed in the blood of the Lamb are symbols of Baptism. This sacrament of initiation involves incorporation into Christ, this life of grace being later renewed and increased through the other Sacraments, especially Penance and the Eucharist. Our good works also contribute to heightening this participation in the divine nature during our present life.
Today we rejoice and ask the help of the countless multitude who have reached heaven after cheerfully passing through life sowing affection and joy almost without realizing it. Perhaps while living among us they worked at a job similar to our own. Since their working backgrounds varied so greatly there may be office workers, manual workers, university professors, businessmen, secretaries etc. among them. Without doubt they must have had to confront difficulties similar to our own and had to begin again and again many times, as we make an effort to do each day.
The Church does not mention the entire multitude of saints by name in the Canon of the Mass. Through the light of faith though we understand that they form a magnificent panorama of lay men and women who through the activity of each day’s task were tireless workers in the Lord’s vineyard. After passing unnoticed and perhaps being misunderstood by the high and mighty they were lovingly greeted by God our Father. They were humble yet great labourers for the growth of the kingdom of God in history. In sum, they are the ones who knew how with the help of God to conserve and perfect during their life the sanctification they received in Baptism.
Throughout our life we are all called to the fullness of Love. A struggle against our passions and inordinate tendencies is necessary. We have to make a constant effort to improve, since sanctity does not depend on one’s state in life – single, married, widower, or priest – but on our personal correspondence with the grace God grants each one of us. The Church reminds everyone that both the worker who takes up his trade or profession each morning and the mother of a family committed to the daily running of the home should sanctify themselves by faithfully fulfilling their daily duties.
It is consoling to realize that people with whom we had dealings a short time ago are now contemplating the face of God. We continue to be united to them by profound friendship and affection through the Communion of Saints. They lend us assistance from heaven and we remember them with joy and seek their intercession as well. Today we make St Teresa’s prayer to the Blessed in heaven our own. She too will be among those to hear our prayer: O holy ones who knew how to prepare so delightful an inheritance, help us now that you are so near the fount of all holiness. Draw water for those of us who are perishing from thirst.