Wednesday, November 01, 2006

For All Saints, known and unknown

Today is all saints day. What is All Saints Day:

All Saints Day

During the year the Church celebrates one by one the feasts of the saints. Today she joins them all in one festival. In addition to those whose names she knows, she recalls in a magnificent vision all the others "of all nations and tribes standing before the throne and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, proclaiming Him who redeemed them in His Blood."

The feast of All Saints should inspire us with tremendous hope. Among the saints of heaven are some whom we have known. All lived on earth lives like our own. They were baptized, marked with the sign of faith, they were faithful to Christ's teaching and they have gone before us to the heavenly home whence they call on us to follow them. The Gospel of the Beatitudes, read today, while it shows their happiness, shows, too, the road that they followed; there is no other that will lead us whither they have gone.

"The Commemoration of All Saints" was first celebrated in the East. The feast is found in the West on different dates in the eighth century. The Roman Martyrology mentions that this date is a claim of fame for Gregory IV (827-844) and that he extended this observance to the whole of Christendom; it seems certain, however, that Gregory III (731-741) preceded him in this. At Rome, on the other hand, on May 13, there was the annual commemoration of the consecration of the basilica of St. Maria ad Martyres (or St. Mary and All Martyrs). This was the former Pantheon, the temple of Agrippa, dedicated to all the gods of paganism, to which Boniface IV had translated many relics from the catacombs. Gregory VII transferred the anniversary of this dedication to November 1.

Things to Do:

* Visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead during the Octave of All Saints' Day (November 1 through November 8) will gain a plenary indulgence that can be applied only to the souls in purgatory. On other days, this work only gains a partial indulgence.

* Spend a little time after Mass thanking God for all the unnamed saints, some of whom could be our own relatives;

* Have a special meal and if you have young children have them dress up like saints and play games;

* Pray the Litany of the Saints -- you could make it really special by chanting it ("he who sings prays twice") and you could read an explanation of this litany, which is considered the model of all other litanies.

* From the Catholic Culture library:
o The Church's Thanksgiving Day by Fr. Joseph Minihan,
o Ideas for Sanctifying All Saints' Day by Jennifer Gregory Miller,
o Halloween and All Saints Day by Fr. William Saunders.

Remember today all those who suffer for their faith around the world. Say a prayer for all saints: Those we know and those we do not.

May their examples lead us in courage and love.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great icon there!

God bless
Maria in the UK