Solemnity of All Saints

Remembering Saints Both Known and Unknown

Solemnity of All Saints

On the first day of November, we always celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints. It’s a time in which there are chestnuts and sweets for the celebration, as well as Saints’ bones, or panellets in Catalonia.

The Church reminds us that although there are some Saints officially named as such, many more are those that have reached Heaven, even though their names are unknown to us. Today we celebrate all those men and women who are happy forever with God. We also benefit from their prayers for us before God, for what we have asked them to pray for us. And we recall that we are also called to the same holiness, which they have reached.

When we celebrate a Saint we realize that he/she is a great helper, an intercessor. Hence the joy of this feast is enormous, because all of them offer to help us simultaneously. They are an immense multitude, among whom are Saints of our own city, and our ancestors.

It’s usually said that the first Saint canonized by the Lord was the Good Thief. Shortly before He died, Jesus assured him that that same day he would be with Him in Paradise. In the end, this is the only thing that matters. The only important thing of our life is that we reach Heaven. And there was never a better saying than “rather late than never.” So the Good Thief, with his repentance, is no longer Dimas the Thief but Saint Dimas.

However, the sooner we discover God and the importance of being Saints the better, thus we’ll be happy on earth and in Heaven. Jesus tells us about the happiness we have with Him, and the great sadness, both His and ours, when we walk away from Him. It’s the teaching of the parable of the Prodigal Son. When the son returns and expresses his repentance, his father kisses him not once but a thousand times. This is how God receives our desires to be Saints, even if our sins have been very great.

Many Saints desired to have a purely spiritual life, which led them to live in a monastery. Others dedicated themselves to help others through social works. More recently, Saint John Newman and Saint Josemaría Escriva de Balaguer have explained the importance of seeking holiness in one’s ordinary life, in work, and activities. It is in such circumstances that one must seek to love God and others with all one’s heart.

All Saints have been people that have shown by their example that they knew how to love. And they have shown their love, first by listening, and then by their prayer and counsel. Holiness always and necessarily reflects works that express love and, also with God’s help, the fruits of a Saint’s life.

Today we have a great opportunity to say to God that we want to be Saints, and to ask Him for His help.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester