Feast of All Saints – Occidental Rite – 01 November 2022

Many venerated holy people are known to us by name, like those mentioned in the Gospels, the Fathers of the early Church, influential theologians and martyrs, and patrons of important holy places. The unabridged story of the human race and our collective and individual relationship with our Lord would feature countless more heroes whose virtue greatly surpasses the darkness of their humanity, who
served God and their fellow people in exemplary ways, and whose favor in the Lord can safely be assured. When we say “all saints” we quite deliberately conflate them all, to reap the aggregate yield of the many seeds of faith, hope, and charity sown by so many, both the renowned and the unknown.

The feast of All Saints is an opportunity for us to honor the saints we otherwise recall also with their own particular celebrations, but also those we might have wished to honor similarly but for our own sloth, or lack of opportunity within the circumstances of our mundane lives; not only these but the innumerable congregation of venerable souls who have certainly merited places of honor in peerage with the venerated ones we particularly know. From all saints, we beg the grace of learning their example and becoming holier ourselves; from all saints, we beg their incessant prayer to the Lord who we know regards their petitions with special esteem. To all saints, we give glory and praise, all the more so because we understand they will only reflect that glory and praise to God most high, which is the work to which we should all aspire.

A saint may teach a disciple how to find in one’s own life a method of following Christ, emulating His example, and obeying His instruction. Most saints did not know Jesus of Nazareth in the flesh while He was on Earth, and had only the record of His Word and the legacy of His ministry in the Church to guide them in their own circumstances to follow Him, with of course the help of the Holy Spirit. As it was and is God’s will, they did. We ought to study the struggles saints have faced, the choices they have made, and the love they have spread in the world. It befits such a gift to our tradition that we should recall their names as far as possible and keep them alive in the tangible world’s portion of the Church, so that we may reciprocate some of that Christ-like love that they have given us. Certainly, we cannot forget that, though we sinners may feel unworthy of God’s interest, let alone His favor, those saints who have extended His love in their heroic service to Him and their fellow people certainly do rest within Christ’s perfect heart, and their prayers for us and those for whom we – and thus, they – pray, will undoubtedly reach the ear of our heavenly Father.

For the purpose of celebrating All Saints, we have chosen a day preferred by many peoples’ folk traditions, and that day is halfway between the autumnal equinox and winter solstice. The trend of a day’s length is in the midst of decline, from equilibrium toward the dark. Sun-worshipping peoples, those whose sustenance depended directly on the earth’s fertility, celebrated this time as a last harvest, and a time to recognize the perpetual immanence of death, and by extension, it was a time to remember and venerate their own dead family, friends, and forebears. As the new covenant of Jesus Christ is for us the present iteration of the story of humankind, we appropriate this celebration first for the celebration of the day of All Saints.

Naturally, we may make offerings and sing prayers in the Red Corners of our homes to praise and petition All Saints. When and where practical, liturgies may even be sung in dedicated Temples. Failing these, or preferably in addition to them, we ought to recall that our bodies are temples, and we can enjoin our own discipleship to that of All Saints, wherever we stand.

By the grace of God, I am Mor +Clement. May our Lord be with you.

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