SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS
Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 1st November 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
On this solemn Feast of All Saints, the Church invites us to reflect on the great hope, that is based on Christ’s Resurrection: Christ is risen and we will also be with him. The Saints and Blesseds are the most authoritative witnesses of Christian hope, because they lived it fully in their lives, amidst joys and sufferings, putting into practice the Beatitudes that Jesus preached and which resound in the Liturgy today (cf. Mt 5:1-12a). The evangelical Beatitudes, in fact, are the path to holiness. I will focus now on two Beatitudes, the second and the third.
This is the second one: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (v. 4). These words seem contradictory because mourning is not a sign of joy and happiness. Death, illness, moral adversity, sin and mistakes are reasons for mourning and suffering: simply everyday life, fragile, weak and marked by difficulty, a life at times wounded and pained by ingratitude and misunderstanding. Jesus proclaims blessed those who mourn due to this reality, who trust in the Lord despite everything and put themselves under his shadow. They are not indifferent, nor do they harden their hearts in their suffering, but they patiently hope for God’s comfort. And they experience this comfort already in this life.
In the third Beatitude, Jesus states: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (v. 5). Brothers and sisters, meekness! Meekness is characteristic of Jesus, who said of himself: “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29). The meek are those who know how to control themselves, who leave space for others, who listen to them and respect their way of living, their needs and their requests. They do not intend to overwhelm or diminish the other, they do not want to tower over or dominate everything, nor impose their ideas or their own interests to the detriment of others. These people, unappreciated by the worldly mentality, are, instead, precious in the eyes of God who gives them the promised land as an inheritance, that is, eternal life. This beatitude too begins here below and will be fulfilled in Heaven, in Christ. Meekness. At this moment in life, even in the world, where there is much aggressiveness..., in everyday life as well, the first thing that comes out of us is aggression, defensiveness. We need meekness to move forward on the path of holiness. To listen, to respect, not to attack: meekness.
Dear brothers and sisters, choosing purity, meekness and mercy; choosing to entrust oneself to the Lord in poverty of spirit and in affliction; dedicating oneself to justice and peace — all this means going against the current in respect to this world’s mindset, in respect to the culture of possession, of meaningless fun, of arrogance against the weakest. This evangelical path was trodden by the Saints and Blesseds. Today’s solemnity that honours All Saints reminds us of the personal and universal vocation to holiness, and proposes sure models for this journey that each person walks in a unique way, an unrepeatable way. It is enough to think of the inexhaustible variety of gifts and real life stories there are among the saints: they are not all the same, each one has their own personality, and developed their own life of holiness according to their own personality. Each one of us can do it, take this path: meekness, meekness, please, and we will head toward holiness.
This immense family of faithful disciples of Christ has a Mother, the Virgin Mary. We venerate her under the title Queen of All Saints; but she is first of all the Mother who teaches each one of us to welcome and follow her Son. May she help us nourish the desire for holiness, walking the way of the Beatitudes.
After reciting the Angelus the Holy Father continued:
Dear brothers and sisters, yesterday, in Hartford, in the United States of America, Michael McGivney, diocesan priest, founder of the Knights of Columbus, was declared Blessed. Dedicated to evangelization, he did everything possible to provide for the needs of the needy, promoting mutual aid. May his example be an impetus for us to witness ever more to the Gospel of charity. Let us give a round of applause to this new Blessed.
On this feast day let us not forget what is happening in Nagorno-Karabakh where armed clashes are taking place amid a fragile truce, with a tragic increase in victims, destruction of homes, buildings and places of worship, with an ever stronger increase in the involvement of the civil population. It is tragic.
I would like to renew my heartfelt appeal to the leaders of the parties in the conflict, “to intervene at the earliest opportunity to stop the shedding of innocent blood” (Encyclical Fratelli Tutti, n. 192). May they not think of using violence to resolve the controversy they face, but rather dedicate themselves to sincere negotiation with the help of the international community. On my part, I am close to all those who are suffering and I invite [everyone] to ask for the intercession of the Saints for a stable peace in that region.
Let us also pray for the population in the area of the Aegean Sea which was hit by a strong earthquake two days ago.
I greet all of you, people of Rome and pilgrims from various countries. In particular, I greet participants in the Race of the Saints promoted by the Don Bosco in the World Foundation, who this year are racing also from a distance and individually. Even though it is taking place in small groups to respect the distancing imposed by the pandemic, this sporting event offers a popular faith dimension to the religious celebration of All Saints. Thank you for your initiative and for your presence.
Tomorrow afternoon, I will celebrate Mass in suffrage for the deceased in the Teutonic Cemetery, a burial place in Vatican City. In this way I will unite myself spiritually to those who, while observing health regulations, will pray at the tombs of their dear ones in every part of the world.
I wish all of you a Happy Feast Day in the spiritual company of the saints. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci.
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