SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS
Saint Peter's Square
Saturday, 1 November 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
The first two days of the the month of November constitute for all of us an intense moment of faith, prayer and reflection on the “last things” of life. In fact in celebrating all the Saints and in commemorating all the faithful departed, in the Liturgy, the pilgrim Church on earth lives and expresses the spiritual bond which unites her to the Church in heaven. Today we praise God for the countless host of saints from all ages: simple and ordinary men and women, who were at times “last” for the world, but “first” for God. At the same time we remember our departed loved ones by visiting the cemeteries: it is a source of great consolation to think that they are in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles, the martyrs and all the saints of Heaven!
Today’s Solemnity thus helps us to consider a fundamental truth of the Christian faith that we profess in the “Creed”: the communion of saints. What does this mean: the communion of saints? It is the communion born from faith which unites all those who belong to Christ through Baptism. It is a spiritual union — we are all united! — that is not broken by death, but continues in the next life. Indeed, there is an unbreakable bond between us living in this world and those who have crossed the threshold of death. We, here on earth, along with those who have entered into eternity, form one great family. This familiarity endures.
This wonderful communion, this wondrous union between heaven and earth takes place in the highest and most intense way in the Liturgy, and especially in the celebration of the Eucharist, which expresses and fulfills the most profound union between the members of the Church. In the Eucharist, we in fact encounter the living Jesus and His strength, and through Him we enter into communion with our brothers and sisters in the faith: those who live with us here on earth and those who have gone before us into the next life, the unending life. This reality fills us with joy: it is beautiful to have so many brothers and sisters in the faith who walk beside us, supporting us with their help, and together we travel the same road toward heaven. And it is comforting to know that there are other brothers and sisters who have already reached heaven, who await us and pray for us, so that together in eternity we can contemplate the glorious and merciful face of the Father.
In the great assembly of saints, God wanted to reserve the first place for the Mother of Jesus. Mary is at the centre of the communion of saints, as the singular custodian of the bond between the universal Church and Christ, of the bond of the family. She is Mother, She is our Mother, our Mother. For those who want to follow Jesus on the path of the Gospel, she is a trusted guide because she is the first disciple. She is an attentive and caring Mother, to whom we can entrust every desire and difficulty.
Let us pray together the Queen of All Saints, that she may help us to respond with generosity and faithfulness to God, who calls us to be holy as He is Holy (cf. Lev 19:2; Mt 5:48).
After the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, today’s liturgy speaks of the glory of Jerusalem, the heavenly Jerusalem. I invite you to pray that the Holy City, dear to Jews, Christians and Muslims, which in recent days has witnessed various tensions, may always be a sign and prelude of the peace which God desires for the whole human family.
Today in Vitoria, Spain, martyr Pedro Asúa Mendía has been beatified. A humble and austere priest, he preached the Gospel with the sanctity of his life, catechesis and devotion to the poor and needy. Arrested, tortured and killed for having expressed his desire to remain faithful to the Lord and to the Church, he is an admirable example of strength in the faith and witness of love for all of us.
This afternoon I will go to the Verano cemetery and will celebrate Mass in suffrage for the deceased. In visiting Rome’s main cemetery, I join in spirit those who, in these days, are visiting the graves of their dead in cemeteries throughout the world.
In the joy of being part of the great family of the Saints, I wish you all a happy All Saints Day. Do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci!
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