Father Nicolas Schwizer
On November 1st, the Church celebrates one of the most cheerful and joyful feasts of the entire year: the Solemnity of All Saints.
The Bible gives us an impressive vision of this community of the Saints. Belonging to it are the canonized Saints: the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Apostles, our holy patrons and all the Saints who have their own feast day throughout the year.
They are given to us as models and guides. We see God, we get a glimpse of Him and we know Him in his Saints. Through their lives, they manifest to us how Jesus Christ might have lived in the different times, in the different states of life and in different vocations. Jesus only lived one human life, a brief life of 33 years.
But in the lives of the Saints, He reveals to us the inexhaustible variety and richness of his imitation. From there can also be understood that some Saints attract us more than others, that each one of us has his/her favorite Saints. They are those Saints which correspond more to our own character, to our personal wishes.
But the Saints are not only our models in the imitation of Christ, they are also our intercessors before the throne of God. They are the mature children of God and, therefore, have power on his Father heart.
A vocation or a personal mission do not end with death, they continue from Heaven. The little St. Theresa expresses it in her simple way: “From Heaven, I will let a shower of roses fall upon the earth.”
The Solemnity wants to deepen our attachment, our love and our confidence in the Saints. We do not only celebrate the canonized Saints, but also the anonymous and unknown Saints who are in the House of the Father. It has to do with common, everyday Christians like us who arrived at the goal of their earthly life and entered – perhaps after a time of purification – into the community in Heaven.
We all have some dear ones among this great multitude of Saints who are not canonized: our parents, relatives, friends and deceased companions. And if we think about their happiness, then we do not cease to rejoice with them. Then comes the desire to meet them again, to be with them.
We are, therefore, fortunate if we already have dear ones in Heaven. They attract us and invite us to that Heavenly reunion where they do not want to be happy without us. In this way, Heaven begins to be a tangible reality for us. In this we be begin to love Heaven, to hope for Heaven, to know Heaven. Thus we place ourselves on the road which will lead us to the House of the Father.
Each Christian, each one of us is called to holiness. We can become saints and we should strive to be saints. The Saints were limited and weak as we are. We have the same helps, the same graces, the same sacraments as they.
The Gospel shows us the way which leads us toward that high goal. The Beatitudes are the conditions for entry into the Kingdom of God. They are a complete program of perfection and sanctity. The Saints have responded to this Christian ideal; they have lived daily these fundamental attitudes of the Kingdom. For that reason we look at the Saints and while looking at them we love them, and loving them, we imitate them.
Dear brothers and sisters, if we continue faithful to this way, the Solemnity of all Saints will someday be our own festivity. So, some day, we will all be in Heaven, gathered in Heaven – next to God, to Mary, to the Apostles, to all the Saints and next to our relatives and friends.
Questions for reflection
1. Do I usually pray to relatives who have preceded me into Heaven?
2. Do I feel called to sanctity?
3. Have I reflected on “the beatitudes”?