Both today’s celebration of All Saints Day and tomorrow’s celebration of All Souls Day go to the heart of our belief that the faithful who have died and the faithful on earth are united as one within the Church. This unity of all the faithful is known as the Communion of Saints. The Church teaches that the Communion of Saints has three distinct aspects. The Church triumphant, the Church suffering and the Church militant.
Those who make up the Church triumphant are the Saints those who have died and been accepted into heaven. These are not only official, canonized Saints, but All who have been received into heaven. The Saints intercede for us as we continue to pray to them for help and protection, direction and consolation. We identify with the Saints because each one of them has been one of us and, yes, each of us can become one of them.
There is popular saying that Saints are sinners who kept on trying. This is a good reminder to all of us who are still part of the church militant – the faithful on earth , you and me. Our designation as the Church militant, indicates that during our time on earth we are likely to be challenged to resist temptation and to battle against evil. As members of the Communion of Saints, however, we are called to grow in holiness, in spite of trails and adversity. We are also called to do our part in helping to build up God’s Kingdom on earth. We do this by loving all people, assisting those in need , sharing our faith and working for justice.we are also called to pray for the souls in purgatory.
Pray for those who have gone before us, but who have not yet been admitted into heaven-the Church suffering -is the main thrust of tomorrow’s celebration All Souls Day commemorations . Jesus tells us he has been sent by the Father so that none of us is lost forever. He has come to open the gates of heaven for us,and he will not reject any who come to him. The souls we pray for already this salvation . They have been judged worthy to be with God for eternity in heaven,but they are not yet fully purified. The Church teaches that our prayers, acts of charity and sacrifices can assist these souls in being cleaned of their sins, so that they may gain entrance into heaven. Especially helpful is our offering of the sacrifice of the Mass for their benefit (ccc1032).
We can also be hopeful that one day we have help from our brothers and sisters in Christ to satisfy our own time of purification so we can enter the heavenly Kingdom. These are things we are to contemplate as we celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day, serving others and helping another gain entrance into heaven.
We are called to be a saint, and saints are people who follow the spiritual map of the Beatitude. If we do this, it will lead us to the place where they live. Upon our death, may we become Saints, as we hear in concluding words of the funeral rite: may the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs come to welcome you and take you to the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem. May you have eternal life.
May God bless you all,
Your brother in Christ