Let us all rejoice in the Lord, as we celebrate the feast day in honour of all the Saints, at whose festival the Angels rejoice and praise the Son of God (Entrance Antiphon).⧾
Today we celebrate the glorious Feast of All Saints and the sacred liturgy directs our gaze to the Heavenly Jerusalem, our ultimate destiny. We were created by God to share in His glory. If we are unclear, confused or ignorant of our life’s meaning and purpose, today’s Feast removes all doubt.
After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation from all tribes and peoples and languages standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice ‘Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb!’ (Rev. 7:9-10).
The Book of Revelation presents us with a vision of the liturgy of Heaven. The great multitude robed in white are they who have come out of the great ordeal; not only the martyrs but also those countless men women and children who in the course of their earthly life walked the path of devout humility that describes Christian life in its fullness. The Beatitudes which we live enable us to put on the mind and heart of Christ and to conform our lives to His truth and goodness; and in so doing we come to reflect the radiant beauty of Christ our Lord, who reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature (Heb. 1:3). What is said of the Son of God by nature, that is His very Being, is said also of us by grace. See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are (1 Jn. 3:1).
Today we commemorate that multitude of saints, some canonized and well known to the Church and most known only to those whose lives they nurtured and touched while here on earth: our parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts, husbands and wives, children and friends. It was our privilege to know them. From them we learned to love God and our neighbour. From them we learned the lessons of humility and meekness, the importance of mercy and compassion, of justice and fortitude in the face of persecution.
The Saints whose memory we make during the canon of the Mass are one with us in prayer and in every age, their heroic witness enables us to appreciate and make our own the freshness and relevance of the Gospel. The Beatitudes that we have just heard are Heaven in our hands; inasmuch as they enable us to experience the blessedness of God’s own life even here and now. At Our Lady’s shrine we have exposed today a number of relics of the Saints: Apostles, Evangelists, Martyrs, Virgins, Confessors and Widows. The presence of these precious relics adds solemnity to our celebration today and enables us to experience is a somewhat tangible manner the vision recorded in the Book of Revelation: After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation from all tribes and peoples and languages standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice ‘Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb!’ (Rev. 7:9-10).
The Preface of the Mass is a wonderful summary of our celebration and in essence of everything we need to know to live a life of meaningful purpose: Today we celebrate the festival of your city, the heavenly Jerusalem, our mother, where the great array of our brothers and sisters already gives you eternal praise. Towards her, we eagerly hasten as pilgrims advancing by faith. The Saints whom we venerate and who are for us models of discipleship help us by the example of their holy lives to achieve life’s purpose, our sanctification. Many of these Saints, such as St. Marguerite Bourgeoys and St Marguerite d’Youville, whose relics among others grace our shrine, inspired others to follow them and to continue their inspired works. Most however, led very humble and ordinary lives yet were able to achieve the perfection of charity that defines Christian holiness. The goal of our life is to become as Christ-like as possible; to become ourselves godly, to reflect Our Lord’s truth, goodness and beauty.
St. Paul exhorts us: Set your minds on things that are above, not things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you will appear with him in glory (Col. 3:3-4). Those who live for Heaven are the greatest friends of mankind. The lives of the Saints are a clear affirmation of this truth; and the work of the Church in every age is to make Saints of all of us. Yes, this no less the Church’s work and our duty as Catholics even and perhaps especially in our time, as we experience in real time as it were, the struggle between the Church and the antichurch, the Gospel and the anti-gospel, the spirit of Christ and that of the antichrist. Every parish, every Catholic institution, and yes, sadly many Catholic families are engaged in this existential struggle. Over one hundred years ago, the saintly and courageous Pope St. Pius X, a true father and shepherd was prescient in this warning: …[there is a] great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world (if such a Church could overcome) the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak, and of all those who toil and suffer. […] Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are traditionalists.
Our future is in Sacred Tradition; grounded and strengthened in the unchanging truth of Jesus
Christ. The Saints knew that no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11). We who have been deprived of the treasures of Sacred Tradition must jealously guard what we have of it and preserve and cherish it as the sure source of stability in these unstable times. If we wish to persevere in the way of holiness and remain faithful till the very end, then we must trust all the more in the strength that comes from Christ Our Saviour and dedicate ourselves with even greater zeal to the work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in Our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 1:4).
Be sure to visit Our Lady’s Shrine after Mass and ask the Saints to pray for you and for all of us that we all with unveiled face beholding the glory of the Lord, [may be] changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor. 3:18). If we make our transformation in Christ our life’s work, nothing we suffer for the defence of the integrity of the faith and the salvation of souls will overwhelm us. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Rom. 8:37).
May Our Lady, our Mother and our Queen, the Queen of all Saints and our model in discipleship be for all of us a pattern and guide on the path of devout humility, the way of holiness. Let us all rejoice in the Lord, as we celebrate the feast day in honour of all the Saints, at whose festival the Angels rejoice and praise the Son of God (Entrance Antiphon). ⧾