Friday, November 1, 2019

Solemnity of All Saints

First Friday of the Month

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

The Lord's are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it.


Welcome to November, my all-time favorite month of the year! We get off to a roaring start on this Solemnity of All Saints, a holy day of obligation. We sing with the psalmist as we did at Vigils: Praise the Lord from the heavens; give praise in the heights. Praise him all you angels; give praise, all you hosts. Who are your favorite saints? Two of mine are Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) and Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444). Saint Bridget was married and the mother of eight children and a mystic! After her husband's death, she, among other things, founded a double monastery (one of nuns and monks), eventually to become the Brigittine Order, and served pilgrims, the poor and sick, and persuaded Pope Clement VI to get out of Avignon and back to Rome where he belonged. Saint Bernardine was busy too. His parents died when he was child. While still a student at the University of Siena he took charge of the hospital there when an epidemic killed most of the staff. Later he looked after a bedridden aunt until her death; and then, at the age of 22, became a Franciscan. With gusto Bernardine continued as a preacher and promoter of peace; he worked for reform and discipline of the Franciscan Order and for church unity (much of Bernardine's life I learned from my trusty Universalis app, May 20, 2019). Praise the Lord all you saints!

We know from the conciliar Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium that everyone in the Church "is called to holiness, according to the saying of the Apostle: "For this is the will of God, your sanctification'" (LG 39). We are called to use our strength as each of us has received it, as a gift from Christ. We are to follow in Christ's footsteps and conform ourselves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things, and devote ourselves with all our being to the glory of God and the service of neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good, as is admirably shown by the life of so many saints in Church history (LG 40). This call to each one of us may seem daunting. We are in this together, though, on the pilgrim journey as the Body of Christ, encouraging and supporting one another in our respective vocations, for "every person must walk unhesitatingly according to his or her own personal gifts and duties in the path of living faith, which arouses hope and works through charity" (LG 41). We can do it as we are the children of God and "see what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God"! (1 Jn 3:1). We can look to today's Gospel for inspiration. There, Jesus teaches us:

Blessed are the poor in spirit.
Blessed are they who mourn.
Blessed are the meek.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Blessed are the merciful.
Blessed are the clean of heart.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
(Mt 5:3-12)

You have been told what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8)

The memory of the Saints leads us to raise our eyes to Heaven: not to forget the realities of the earth, but to face them with more courage and hope.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, November 1, 2019)


Today's photo: I've included this view before. This photo is fresh though, taken just this week, after a vigorous jaunt to one my favorite spots. Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? or who may stand in his holy place?

© Gertrude Feick 2019

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