Thursday, November 1, 2018

Solemnity of All Saints

Readings of the Day
RB: Ch 25 Serious Faults
Mass: Rev 7:2-4, 9-14; Resp Ps 24;  1 Jn 3:1-3; Mt 5:1-12a

After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.


It is such a glorious day that I am unable to decide what to include in today's offering. We are filled with the blessings of the Lord so exclaim with the angels: 'Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen' (Rev 7:12). Today we honor every saint, those formally recognized and those known only to God. As we all respond to the universal call to holiness, it seems fitting that we set the mood with our Cistercian tradition, from the great St Bernard and the reading from our celebration of Vigils: 

Certainly there are within the Church of God spiritual persons who serve God faithfully and with confidence, speaking with God as a person speaks with a friend, and whose consciences bear witness to God's glory. But who these are is only known to God and if you desire to be among them, then hear what sort of people you should be. I say this, not as one who knows it by experience, but as one who desires to do so. Show me a soul which loves nothing but God and what is to be loved for God's sake, to whom to live is Christ, and for whom this has been true for a long time now; who in work and leisure alike endeavors to keep God before one's eyes, and walks humbly with the Lord his God, who desires that his will may be one with the will of God, and who has been given the grace to do these things. Show me a soul like this, and I will not deny that she is worthy of the Bridegroom's care, of regard of God's majesty, of his sovereign favor, and of attention to his governance. And if she is minded to boast, she will not be a fool, as long as she who boasts, boasts in the Lord.
(Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Song of Songs, I, 1)

While our Abbess proclaimed today's Gospel at Vigils, I felt like weeping tears of joy. It occurred to me that one thing I could do this month is to take each beatitude and reflect on what Jesus is teaching me. Will you join me?

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

What follows are texts from our rich liturgical celebrations:

Noon Prayer, reading:

Today's festival reminds us that the communion of saints is not some elite club of those who have arrived at station beatitude. Rather it is a gaggle of the gifted and not so gifted who choose to practice holiness together. Thereby we are plucked from our individuality into a holy collective, in which broods the saving presence of God's redeeming spirit.
(Edward Foley)

First Vespers, proclamation:

The saints in each generation, joined to those who have gone before and filled them with light, become a golden chain, in which each saint is a separate link, united to the next by faith and works and love. So in the one God they form a single chain which cannot quickly be broken.
(St Symeon the New Theologian)

Morning Prayer, proclamation:

By word and example, the saints kindled and enlightened others, and declared for us the solemn joy of this supreme knowledge of you, for which we look hereafter, when we shall see you as you are face to face.
(William of St Thierry)

The final texts from the Holy Father:

 All Saints' Day is a family feast, because the saints, our truest brothers and sisters, love us, know what is our true good, help us and await us, and want us to be happy with them in heaven.
(Pope Francis, November 1, 2018, midday Angelus address)

Today we celebrate the feast of holiness. Let us strengthen the bonds of love and communion with all the saints who are already in God's presence.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, November 1, 2018)

St Benedict's Sacro Speco, Polyptychs (Sienese School, 14th century),

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