ALL SAINTS’ DAY
by Mary Reed Newland
The feast of All Saints is one of the greatest of all the feasts because it celebrates what could have been impossible. The Cross is a tree that bears fruit.
This is the feast of its harvest. The celebrations of the mysteries in the life of our Lord are glorious, and there is no detracting from them. But He was God.
This day we celebrate the perfecting of human nature, by grace pouring from the side of Christ on the Cross, through His Church and His sacraments, remaking men after their despoiling in the Garden.
Aside from all the lofty things to be said about the saints and to the saints on this day, we want our children to understand in the marrow of their bones what the principal idea is: “We are so glad for you. Now pray, so we’ll be there too!” And they must add to this and to every feast an endless “Thank you, Lord Jesus, for making it possible.”
Why We Should Know the Saints
The Gospel of John tells us, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God: to them that believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”128
Each succeeding feast gives us a new understanding of this. We have been “born of God.” We must know the saints because we can learn from them how to receive His will, to love it, to act on it, to use the power He has given us to become the sons of God.
Here, we are His adopted sons separated from Heaven by life in the flesh. That part of us that He made in His own image and likeness is detained a while, in the body. It is being tried.
The saints went through the trials too, and with the help of His grace, they overcame them. They are in glory now, sons united at last with their Father. This is the greatest of His mercies.
He loved us before the creation of the world and planned for us to be in eternity with Him. When sin spoiled the plan, He perfected it – if one can say that – with the Incarnation. He became a man and spent Himself to devise the means for our perfection. The saints used it. We must too.
The antiphon from Vespers for this feast says what we want to say:
O ye Angels and Archangels, Thrones and Dominions, Principalities and Powers, Virtues of Heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, ye Patriarchs and Prophets, holy Doctors of the Law, Apostles, all Martyrs of Christ, holy Confessors, Virgins of the Lord, Hermits and all Saints:
Intercede for us.