We revere all the saints who are in heaven
Reflections on the readings for the Solemnity of All Saints (November 1, 2021): RV 7:2-4,9-14; PS 24:1-2,3-4,5-6; 1 JN 3:1-3; MT 5:1
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Nothing can bring us into close contact with the beauty of Christ Himself other than the world of beauty created by faith and light that shines out from the faces of the saints...
For well over 1,200 years the Church has set aside a day to show respect for all saints. This includes those who have been canonized and the many more who have not, but who truly opened themselves to God’s will and grace. In their own way, each saint allowed Him to transform them into the beautiful being He always meant everyone to be. As Pope Benedict XVI said, “To become saints means to fulfill completely what we already are, raised to the dignity of God’s adopted children in Christ Jesus. … One might say that the saints are, so to speak, new Christian constellations, in which the richness of God’s goodness is reflected. … Nothing can bring us into close contact with the beauty of Christ Himself other than the world of beauty created by faith and light that shines out from the faces of the saints, through whom His own light becomes visible.” Rather than being daunted by the idea of sainthood, we should entrust ourselves to our Lord and let Him lead us where He will.
In the beginning centuries of the Church, many, like St. Stephen the first martyr, gave up their lives for their faith. They chose torture and death rather than deny their belief in Christ our Redeemer. Gradually, those whose lives were examples of fidelity and service to Him and His people, especially those in need, were also honored. Official canonization of saints did not exist for about the first thousand years, when it was brought under the oversight of the pope. Rather than being left to local bishops, the procedure was standardized, particularly over the last three hundred years or so. In the Psalm for this feast we hear a lovely description of saints: “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. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks Him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob” (Psalm 24:3-6). Let us all seek to see the face of God for all eternity.
Suggested missionary action: We can ask God’s holy saints to pray for us and help us follow their example of loving service to Him. Starting with veneration of our Blessed Mother, we can pray to patron or favorite saints.