Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.”(Psalm 24:6)
The Solemnity of All Saints is a day meant to be filled with celebration. We are encouraged to call to mind in gratitude the many men and women who have given, and continue to give, their lives in service to God and God’s church. However, when I think about saints such as St. Francis of
Assisi or St. Catherine of , I must admit I am not filled with joy but intimidation. In the face of all the contributions to the church the saints have made, I often to think myself, “How could I possibly compare to these selfless men and women?” We are all called to become saints, but at times it is difficult for me to think that I am called to be in same group as Siena or St. Cecilia. Therefore, when I read the readings for this special day, I was overjoyed to realize these passages contained important insights towards following the footsteps of the saints. A question that stayed with me throughout the readings and guided my thoughts was “What virtues do the saints live out?” St. Joseph
Looking at the second reading, we discover the first virtue is the sense of thankfulness that comes from realizing we are God’s children. I believe this thankfulness is the foundation of the saints’ lives. I sometimes feel as though I have to prove myself to God to show I am worthy of God’s love, but the reading beautifully shows that we are God’s children now. Therefore, we must joyfully internalize the precious gift that is God’s love. The saints have exemplified how this sense of thankfulness is vital in giving completely of oneself in service to God. It helps us realize that even if we fail, we will continually be loved by God. Thus, no challenge is too daunting for us to try to overcome.
From this complete sense of gratitude, we can then encounter the second virtue that is at the center of today’s responsorial psalm. We are called to a deep desire to know and experience God more intimately. We are called “to long to see God’s face.” Once we receive a taste of God’s love in our lives, we should be consumed with a thirst to grow closer to God, especially through Christ and the church. Filled with this desire, the saints have striven to make God’s presence more fully realized in the world.
But how can we make God’s presence known to others? Today’s Gospel provides an excellent answer to this question through the Beatitudes. We are called to manifest God’s kingdom by thirsting for righteousness, being meek, and living as peacemakers. This challenge might result in us being persecuted or experiencing mourning, but we can rejoice in the fact that we are striving to bring the greatness of heaven on earth.
Therefore, let us not be intimidated by the saints but be eternally grateful for their example and their ability to make God known to us. Happy All Saints’ Day!