All Hallows Eve (Halloween) and the celebrations of All Saints and All Soul's are a reminder to us that our nearest and dearest who have died are not really that far away and that we honour and pray for and with each other in the Communion of Saints especially at this time of the year.
Whilst you remember your own loved ones at this time, also remember to pray for those that are mourning. While time may change the pain of loss, it can never be said to truly go away; remember those who mourn and feel that pain at this time too especially for those who have lost loved ones in the last twelve months.
"For centuries the church has confronted the human community with role models of greatness. We call them saints when what we really often mean to say is 'icon,' 'star,' 'hero,' ones so possessed by an internal vision of divine goodness that they give us a glimpse of the face of God in the centre of the human. They give us a taste of the possibilities of greatness in ourselves."From the first centuries after Christ, Christians who died a martyr’s death were considered saints, who live in God’s presence forever. Every year, on the anniversary of the martyrs’ deaths, Christians would visit their tombs and celebrate the Eucharist. This practice grew throughout the centuries to include remembering other outstanding Christians on the days they died. Soon the entire calendar was filled with memorials of the saints. In the ninth century, Pope Gregory IV designated November 1 as the day to remember all the saints living in God’s presence.
— Joan D. Chittister in "A Passion for Life"
Sleepers awake, Christ is now risen
Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feast day mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honours when their heavenly Father honours them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honoru from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.Lectio divina reflections:
Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. Wee long to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints. But our dispositions change. The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them.
Sunday Reflections - Solemnity of All Saints 2016
English Dominicans - Where our true happiness lies
Other resources and reflections:
- Over the last couple of years we have posted a lot of links and reflections on All Saints HERE.
- Word on Fire - You were chosen to be a saint
- Pilgrims Progress - Getting ready for the Solemnity of All Saints!
- Word on Fire - Satellites, the Internet, and the Communion of Saints
- Its hard being wedded to the dead
- Churchyear.net - All Saints Day - list of the beliefs and history of the feast day including traditional activities and foods associated with it.
- Loyola Press - All Saints Day resources
- Fr James Martin SJ - Laughing with the Saints (video) - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
- Franciscan Media's reflection for the solemnity