Beginning Friday night with All Hallows’ Eve, the Church celebrates on November 1 the solemn feast of All Saints. In the month of November, the last month of the liturgical year, the Church turns her gaze to the Last Things. She delights to begin this annual month-long meditation with the superabundant glory of the feast of all the sanctity that has been communicated to angels and men.
The feast of All Saints is deeply encouraging. It teaches us that holiness is for everyone, in every state and walk of life. Contemplating all the saints, we are encouraged to learn that heroic virtue and perfect divine love are possible for us in the concrete details of our lives. We discover with joy that there are pope saints, bishop saints, priest saints, deacon saints, religious saints, married saints, widow saints, single saints; there are children saints, elderly saints, penitent saints, royal saints, wealthy saints, poor saints; there are saints of every temperament, occupation, race, language, land, nation, and time. Our celebration is a veritable symphony of sanctity!
One very important and encouraging gift of the feast of All Saints is that we learn that we are not alone in our struggle for holiness. In the Communion of Saints, we receive help from the saints, from their example and from their intercessory prayer. We also discover that there are saints who struggled with the same vices and sins and temptations that may afflict us. This is profoundly encouraging and important. We learn that we are not alone in our battle for sanctity and that we are never defeated. We know from the presence of the saints that we can hope in God’s help to overcome temptation and persevere in heroic virtue and divine love. The saints teach us to trust in God’s grace right here and now to live in the concrete present our own life of holiness.
Our Mother Mary is the Queen of All Saints. All the saints loved her and served her. Her Month of the Rosary is a beautiful prelude to the Month of the Last Things. Let us ask her intercession as we finish her Month well, that we may delight only in sanctity and, following her example, seek only to please God in all our thoughts, words, and deeds. Omnes Sancti et Sanctae Dei, orate pro nobis!
Fr. Joseph Previtali