On the Feast of All Saints
"All of us are called to walk on the path of sanctity, and this path has a name, a face: the face of Jesus Christ"
Vatican City, (Zenit.org) | 1985 hits
Here is a translation of the address the Pope gave before praying the midday Angelus on All Saints’ Day.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
The feast of All Saints, which we celebrate today, reminds us that the end of our existence is not death but Paradise! The Apostle John wrote: “it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). The saints, God’s friends, assure us that this promise does not disappoint. In their earthly existence, in fact, they lived in profound communion with God. In the faces of the littlest and disdained brothers they saw the face of God, and now they contemplate Him face to face in his glorious beauty.
The saints are not supermen, nor were they born perfect. They are like us, like each one of us. They are persons who, before attaining the glory of Heaven, lived a normal life, with joys and sorrows, toil and hopes. But what changed their life? When they came to know the love of God, they followed Him with their whole heart, without conditions or hypocrisies; they spent their life at the service of others, they endured sufferings and adversities without hating, and responding to evil with goodness, spreading joy and peace. This is the life of saints: persons who for love of God did not put conditions to Him in their life. They were not hypocritical; they spent their life at the service of others to serve their neighbor. They suffered so many adversities, but without hating. The saints never hated. Understand this well: love is of God, but from whom does hatred come? Hatred does not come from God but from the devil! And the saints went away from the devil. The saints are men and women who have joy in their heart and transmit it to others. Never hate, but serve others, the neediest; pray and live in joy, this is the path of sanctity!
To be saints is not the privilege of a few, as if some had a great inheritance. In Baptism all of us have the inheritance of being able to become saints. Sanctity is a vocation for all. Hence, all of us are called to walk on the path of sanctity, and this path has a name, a face: the face of Jesus Christ. He teaches us to become saints. In the Gospel he shows us the way: that of the Beatitudes (cf. Matthew 5:1-12). The Kingdom of Heaven, in fact, is for those who do not put their security in things, but in the love of God; for those who have a simple, humble heart, who do not presume to be just and do not judge others, who are able to suffer with those who suffer and to be joyful with the joyful; they are not violent but merciful and they seek to be architects of reconciliation and peace. The saint is an architect of reconciliation and peace; he always helps people to reconcile with one another and always helps to establish peace. And so sanctity is beautiful; it is a beautiful way!
Today, on this feast, the saints give us a message. They tell us: have confidence in the Lord, because the Lord does not disappoint! He never disappoints; he is a good friend, always by our side. With their witness the saints encourage us not to be afraid to go against the current or to be misunderstood and derided when we speak of Him and the Gospel; they demonstrate with their life that, whoever stays faithful to God and to his Word already experiences on this earth the comfort of his love and then a “hundredfold” in eternity. This is what we hope for and ask of the Lord for our deceased brothers and sisters. With wisdom the Church has put in close sequence the feast of All Saints and the commemoration of All the Deceased Faithful. To our prayer of praise of God and of veneration of the blessed spirits is joined the prayer of suffrage for all those who have preceded us in the passage from this world to eternal life.
We entrust our prayer to the intercession of Mary, Queen of All Saints.
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]
[After the Angelus, he said:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet you all affectionately, especially the families, parish groups and Associations.
I give a warm greeting to all those who took part this morning in the Race of Saints, organized by the Don Bosco in the World Foundation. Saint Paul would say that the whole life of a Christian is a “race” to win the prize of sanctity: you gave us a good example. Thank you for this race!
This afternoon, I will go to the Verano cemetery and will celebrate Holy Mass there. I will be joined spiritually to all those who in these days visit cemeteries, where those sleep who have preceded us in the sign of faith and await the day of resurrection. In particular, I will pray for the victims of violence, especially for Christians who have lost their life because of persecutions. I will also pray in a special way for all those brothers and sisters of ours, men, women and children who died assailed by thirst, hunger and toil in the journey to attain a better condition of life. In these days we have seen in the newspapers that cruel image of the desert: let us all, in silence, pray for these brothers and sisters of ours.
A wish everyone a good fest of All Saints. Good-bye and good lunch!
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]