Today, November 1st, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints. Who are these “Icons of Human Love,” as Father Thomas Dubay, S.M. called them in Saints: A Closer Look? They are those “who have lived upon earth as we have, who have known our miseries, our difficulties, our struggles,” writes Father Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. in Divine Intimacy. Some are easy to recognize, “for the Church has raised them to the honor of the Altar, but the great majority are entirely unknown to us. They are humble people who lived obscurely in the accomplishment of duty, without display; without renown, whom no one here below remembers, but whom the heavenly Father looked upon, knew in secret, and, having proved their fidelity, called to His glory.” St. Bernard, the Abbott, tells us that it doesn’t serve them at all for us to venerate them…but it serves us: “Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company…[and a desire] that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory” (from Sermo 2, Opera omnia, Edit. Cisterc. 5  364-368; Second Reading, Liturgy of the Hours). So, today, let us honor all the Saints, those canonized and those not, and ask for their prayers and intercession. We look to them as examples of conversion, of self-giving, sacrifice and piety, and as examples of how to love as Christ loved…through the narrow gate of the Cross, so as to be happy with Him forever in heaven, sharing in that eternal joy of praising and of glorifying God.
Art for this post on the Solemnity of All Saints: Icon of All Saints, Simeon Khromoy, before 1616, PD-US author’s life plus 70 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.