Tag Archives: All Saints

All Saints Day

All Saints Day ErspamerSaints are the fruits of the Holy Eucharist. Holy men and women extrovert the grace of Communion and say to us that living the Gospel is possible and reasonable. In Mane nobiscum, Domine, Pope Saint John Paul writes:

We have before us the example of the Saints, who in the Eucharist found nourishment on their journey towards perfection. How many times did they shed tears of profound emotion in the presence of this great mystery, or experience hours of inexpressible “spousal” joy before the sacrament of the altar!

Today is also the day on which Saint John Paul II was ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ 69 (1 November 1946). In the twenty-six years of being the Roman Pontiff, John Paul gave us more than 1,300 blessed and 480 saints.

All Saints and the high adventure of Christian discipleship

I love the feast of All Saints and All Souls the following day. I happen to find holiness attractive. Saints make the journey of being Christian reasonable. On the eve of All Saints we do indeed need to reflect on what it means to be saints, to venerate —not worship— the saints. We owe worship to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit alone; Catholics honor, venerate the Mother of God and the saints. We need witnesses; I follow the experience of another, and not the person himself. There are distinctions here. In his weekly column for CatholicPhilly.com Archbishop Charles J. Chaput penned, “The meaning of sainthood: To be fully alive in Jesus Christ,” where he reflects on the Catholic teaching and experience of holiness. I always have to remind myself that saints are not plastic people; they are sinner who the love of God, who show us that the promises of Jesus Christ are true and that each one of can live the Gospel. As the Chaput notes so well, sainthood is experience, not the theory of,the high adventure of Christian discipleship.

The Archbishop writes,

Some years ago a friend told me that she secretly thought of the saints as boring. They smile at us sweetly from holy cards. Their lives can seem implausible compared to people more famous for their vices. And who would really want to be a saint, anyway? As Billy Joel once said, “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun.”

But when we come to understand holiness rightly, we see that it’s anything but boring. Sanctity isn’t a matter of sentimental posturing or being nice. Sanctity is about being passionately in love with Jesus Christ.

The saints are men and women who glowed white-hot with the Holy Spirit. They lived fully what Father Richard John Neuhaus once called “the high adventure of Christian discipleship.” And that’s truly what the heart of sainthood is: not a life of legalistic drudgery, but a high adventure.

Think about the women and men we venerate as saintly: Mother Teresa, Francis Xavier, King Louis IX of France, Gianna Beretta Molla, Pier Giorgio Frassati, Catherine of Siena. They lived some of the most compelling lives in history. Their roads were hard. They endured great sacrifices and self-denial. But those sacrifices led to greater love and joy than many in the world have ever known.

If we think about sainthood like that, it can seem like the saints are a special class of people. Sainthood is for people like them, we think, not everyday people like us. And how do you live like a saint if you’re just an ordinary worker, a father or a mother? The good news is that the saints were ordinary people like us. Their “secret” was not something they possessed, but Someone who possessed them.

The saints were men and women whom Jesus Christ made his own. As baptized Catholics, we too have been made Christ’s own. We receive Jesus Christ’s healing mercy and forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation. We eat his body and drink his blood in the Eucharist. We speak with him in moments of quiet prayer.

This love that we receive from Jesus should break out into the rest of our lives. St. Josemaria Escriva put it this way: “When a Christian carries out with love the most insignificant everyday action, that action overflows with the transcendence of God.” This means that even when we fix another family’s plumbing, or fill out their legal paperwork, or drive our kids to soccer practice, we can act with the love of Jesus Christ in the same way that the saints did.

The great second century bishop, Irenaeus of Lyons, once said that “the glory of God is man fully alive.” First and foremost, this refers to Jesus Christ. Jesus shows us what it looks like for a human being to live life abundantly. This means that the closer we are to Jesus, the more intensely alive we become. And the saints are examples of men and women who have lived their lives to the fullest. Because of the love of Jesus, they glow with the glory of God. Because of the love of Jesus, they’re fully alive.

The saints aren’t just our models, though. They form what Paul called “a great cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1). The saints in heaven pray for us on earth, urging us on as we run the race of faith. They offer us hope in two ways. First, they show us that, by God’s grace, heroic Christian lives are possible. Second, they remind us of the destiny God has in store for those he loves. This life is a preparation for eternal union with God in heaven. That doesn’t mean sitting around forever with a pious halo, strumming a harp. Heaven is an eternity of the greatest love we have ever tasted in this life – growing deeper and stronger without end.

This All Saints’ Day, November 1, let’s reflect on what the saints really mean for us. Let’s remember the holy men and women whom we can emulate and to whom we can pray for help and guidance. Jesus said that he came so that we would have life, and have it abundantly (Jn. 10:10).

Let’s pray that we find the courage to seek out that abundant life with the saints. Let’s be women and men of love, witnesses of the glory of the God who makes us fully alive in Jesus Christ. There is no greater joy, no greater vocation.

All Saints and All Souls Days in religious orders

benedict and devil.jpgThe Church is not liturgically monolithic: let’s consider the various observances of feasts of All Saints and the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (All Souls) in various religious orders:

All Saints
  • November 5: the Society of Jesus
  • November 7: the Order of Preachers
  • November 13: the Order of St Benedict; Order of St Augustine; the Trinitarian Order
  • November 29: the Franciscan Families
All Souls
  • October 5: the Capuchin Order
  • November 5: the Franciscan Families
  • November 8: the Order of Preachers
  • November 13: the Carthusians
  • November 14: the Order of St Benedict; the Trinitarian Order
  • November 15: the Order of Carmel
  • November 16: the Servite Order

All Saints

All Saints Montage.jpgLet 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. (Entrance Antiphon for Mass)

With the Church we pray,
Almighty ever-living God, by whose gift we venerate in one celebration the merits of all the Saints, bestow on us, we pray, through the prayers of so many intercessors, an abundance of the reconciliation with you for which we earnestly long.
The history of living the Gospel is filled with saints known and unknown: you might say anonymous saints who lend their witness to the symphony of those we have known to live and die for Christ. It is this feast of All Saints that the Church acknowledges the presence of those who are not venerated at the altar but nonetheless are making intercession before the throne of Grace. All the saints, known and unknown are those who lived a life of faith, hope and charity and therefore give us hope that in following the path given by Jesus is reasonable and worthy. These people who struggled and strove to live the gifts given by the Holy Spirit.

Vespers for All Saints and a lecture “Art, Beauty and the Sacred” in NYC

The Catholic Artists Society is hosting a lecture on October 31st at 6:30pm titled “Art, Beauty and the Sacred” given by Oratorian Father Uwe Michael Lang. The evening will include the celebration of First Vespers of All Saints in the Church of Saint Vincent Ferrer (NYC). The flyer can be viewed here: Catholic Artists Society All Saints and lecture.pdf


We will celebrate the ancient and beautiful liturgy of Solemn First Vespers for All Saints, officiated by our special guest, Father Uwe Michael Lang, C.O. Father Bruno Shah, O.P. from Saint Vincent Ferrer, and Father Michael Barone from the archdiocese of Newark, will assist in the liturgical celebration. Gregorian chant and polyphonic settings will be provided by a professional choir led by David J. Hughes, Organist & Choirmaster at Saint Mary’s Church, Norwalk, CT.
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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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