Every year we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints on 1st November. This feast gives us a great sense of fellowship, for the saints are our brothers and sisters. On the Solemnity of All Saints, we celebrate the joy of all those who have gone before us to inherit the kingdom of the Father. These are men and women from all walks of life and from all over the world, people just like us but people who remained faithful to God trusting in his promises. Some of them led lives of extraordinary sanctity and a few of these, the church recognizes as canonized saints and places them before us as special examples to be imitated. Pope Francis delivering his message during the Angelus on the Solemnity of All Saints in 2013 said, “The Saints are not supermen, nor were they born perfect. They are like us, like each one of us. They are people who, before reaching the glory of heaven, lived normal lives with joys and sorrows, struggles and hopes. What changed their lives? When they recognized God’s love, they followed it with all their heart without reserve or hypocrisy. They spent their lives serving others; they endured suffering and adversity without hatred and responded to evil with good, spreading joy and peace. … Saints are men and women who have joy in their hearts and they spread it to others. Never hate but serve others… pray and live in joy. This is the way of holiness!”
In the battle for the kingdom of God we have the saints at the forefront showing us the way to perfection and holiness. We respect and remember the saints for their unceasing commitment to the Lord. They are the perfect models for imitation. We venerate them because of their sanctity and the divine excellence.
All of us are called to sainthood, but how many of us strive for it? The greatest miracles are the unspectacular ones. Similarly, the greatest saints probably are the anonymous ones. St. Augustine says, the first, second and third thing in Religion is humility. We thank God this day for all the saints especially for the anonymous ones, the unsung heroes of all times.
The month of November is traditionally a time in which the catholic community remembers those who have died. It is related to the fact that the end of November is the end of the Liturgical year with a New Year starting on the first Sunday of Advent. The feast of all souls celebrated on 2nd November is an invitation to be ever prepared to meet our Divine Master. The celebration is like a ramp on the road of life. It makes us slow down if not stop, check the direction of our travel, take stock of the distance covered and the destination that lies ahead. We need to realise that we are only travellers here and have to leave for the next destination. So we need to give up our ego, all pride and follow God in all humility.
We are living in extraordinary times. We live yet we don’t live as we ought to. We merely exist and pass the days. This is what Norman Cousins meant when he said, “The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live.” Naturally, it is difficult for us to understand what living life to its full means, yet some have exemplified by the way they lived and more importantly the way they died. Saints and many of those who have gone before us have set before us living and contagious examples of living and celebrating life. So, let us celebrate the event called LIFE. Let us all earnestly try to help our brothers and sisters to celebrate their lives through our ministry.
- INM Leadership Team