Solemnity of All Saints
November 01, 2020
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Introit

 

Kyrie

 

Gloria

 

Collect

Almighty ever-living God,

by whose gift we venerate in one celebration the merits of all the Saints,

bestow on us, we pray, through the prayers of so many intercessors,

an abundance of the reconciliation with you for which we earnestly long.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

First Reading Rev. 7:2-4,9-14

I, John, saw another angel come up from the East, holding the seal of the living God.
He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were given power to damage the land and the sea, "Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand marked from every tribe of the children of Israel. After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb." All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshiped God, and exclaimed: "Amen.  Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever.  Amen." Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, "Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?" I said to him, "My lord, you are the one who knows." He said to me, "These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 24:1bc, 2 3-4ab, 5-6

R/. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

The LORD's are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers. R/.

Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain. R/.

He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob. R/.

Second Reading 1 Jn 3:1-3

Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.

Verse before the Gospel

Gospel Mt 5:1-12a

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven."

Catena Nova

To every person, however holy they may be, there always remains some imperfection, because we has been drawn from nothingness: so that we do no injury to the saints when, in recounting their virtues, we relate their sins and defects; but, on the contrary, those who write their lives seem, for this reason, to do a great injury to making by concealing the sins and imperfections of the saints, under pretence of honouring them, not referring to the commencement of their lives, for fear of diminishing the esteem of their sanctity. Oh, no, indeed, this is not to act properly; but it is to wrong the saints and all posterity (St. Francis de Sales).

Very various are the Saints, their very variety is a token of God’s workmanship but however various and whatever was their special line of duty, they have been heroes in it –
they have attained such noble self-command,
they have so crucified the flesh,
they have so renounced the world,
they are so meek, so gentle, so tender-hearted, so merciful, so sweet, so cheerful, so full of prayer, so diligent, so forgetful of injuries,
they have sustained such great and continued pains,
they have persevered in such vast labours,
they have made such valiant confessions,
they have wrought such abundant miracles,
they have been blessed with such strange successes,
that they have been the means of setting up a standard before us of
truth, of magnanimity, of holiness, of love.
They are not always our examples, we are not always bound to follow them – not more than we are bound to obey literally, some of our Lord’s precepts, such as turning the cheek or giving away the coat – not more than we can follow the course of the sun, moon or stars in the heavens;
but, though not always our examples,
they are always our standard of right and good;
they are raised up to be monuments and lessons,
they remind us of God,
they introduce us into the unseen world,
they teach us what Christ loves,
they track out for us the way which leads heavenwards (St. John Henry Newman).

We should imitate the virtues of the saints just as they imitated Christ, for in their virtues there shines forth under different aspects the splendor of Jesus Christ. Among some of these saints the zeal of the apostolate stood out, in others courage prevailed even to the shedding of blood, constant vigilance marked others out as they kept watch for the divine Redeemer, while in others the virginal purity of soul was resplendent and their modesty revealed the beauty of Christian humility; there burned in all of them the fire of charity towards God and their neighbor. The sacred liturgy puts all these gems of sanctity before us so that we may consider them for our salvation, and “rejoicing at their merits, we may be inflamed by their example.” It is necessary, then, to practice “in simplicity innocence, in charity concord, in humility modesty, diligence in government, readiness in helping those who labor, mercy in serving the poor, in defending truth, constancy, in the strict maintenance of discipline justice, so that nothing may be wanting in us of the virtues which have been proposed for our imitation. These are the footprints left by the saints in their journey homeward, that guided by them we might follow them into glory.” In order that we may be helped by our senses, also, the Church wishes that images of the saints be displayed in our churches, always, however, with the same intention “that we imitate the virtues of those whose images we venerate.” But there is another reason why the Christian people should honor the saints in heaven, namely, to implore their help and “that we be aided by the pleadings of those whose praise is our delight.” Hence, it is easy to understand why the sacred liturgy provides us with many different prayers to invoke the intercession of the saints (Pope Pius XII).

Who are these glorious saints? People who have lived upon earth as we have, who have known our miseries, our difficulties, our struggles. Some of them we recognize easily, for the Church has raised them to the honors of the Altar, but the great majority are entirely unknown to us. They are humble people who lived obscurely in the accomplishment of duty, without display, without renown, whom no one here below remembers, but whom the heavenly Father looked upon, knew in secret, and, having proved their fidelity, called to His glory. The honorable positions occupied by some in this vast gathering, or the mighty deeds accomplished by others, no longer possess any value of themselves: eternal beatitude is not determined by the great things achieved here below. One thing only endures, for the humble and the great, the poor and the wealthy: the degree of love they had attained, to which corresponds the degree of glory which now renders them eternally happy (Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene).

Today it is not nearly enough merely to be a saint, but we must have the saintliness demanded by the present moment, a new saintliness itself without precedent .... I think that under this or any equivalent form it is the first thing we have to ask for now, we have to ask for it daily, hourly, like a famished child constantly asks for bread. The world needs saints who have genius, just as a plague-stricken town needs doctors (Simone Weil).

When they call you a saint, it means basically that you are not to be taken seriously.... Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed that easily (Dorothy Day).

The first two days of the month of November constitute for all of us an intense moment of faith, prayer and reflection on the “last things” of life.  Today we praise God for the countless host of saints from all ages, simple and ordinary men and women, who were at times “last” for the world, but “first” for God.  At the same time we remember our departed loved ones by visiting the cemeteries, it is a source of great consolation to think that they are in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles, the martyrs and all the saints of Heaven! We, here on earth, along with those who have entered into eternity, form one great family and it is comforting to know, that there are other brothers and sisters, who have already reached heaven, who await us and pray for us, so that together in eternity we can contemplate the glorious and merciful face of the Father (Pope Francis).

Homily

 

Staying in Touch

 

            Have the saints lost their touch?  What do you think? I sometimes think they’re “out of touch.” Cast in plaster statues, or carved in wood; caged in stained glass windows; tucked safely in their niches, or on their pedestals: gathering dust in the church’s family album.  True, most have heard of Mary and Joseph, Peter and Paul, Catherine and Therese, Augustine and Anthony, Lucy and Anne.  Yet I sometimes think they touched us once upon a time, when as children the romance of holiness captured our fancy, when we thought of heroes from days gone by.  But today, they seem so far away, the saints, “out of touch” somehow.  Don’t they?

 

            Even “modern” saints fare poorly. How many, for example, know the story of St. Katharine Drexel of Philadelphia, the heiress who gave away her fortune and started an order of nuns to serve Native and African-American children in this country?  She died in 1955.  Or how about Blessed Miguel Pro, the priest shot by a firing squad for opposing the Mexican revolution’s campaign against the church? He died in 1927. Or how about Blessed Titus Brandsma, the Dutch Carmelite who died in a Nazi concentration camp in 1942?  Have you heard of him?  Yet, all these people lived in the last century.  And most of them, I fear, “out of touch.”

 

            Still, new saints are added to the list all the time.  In just the last five years we’ve seen Mother Theresa, Pope Paul VI, and Oscar Romero canonized by Pope Francis – all of  them within the living memory of many people still alive.

 

            Yet, today’s baptismal registers are as likely to record names found on the soaps or the pop charts as those found in the canon of Christian saints, whether old or new.  The very idea of a “Christian name” sounds quaint, if not downright antiquated.

 

            Is it the cynicism of our age? Which finds it so difficult to believe in heroes, because of so many betrayals by politicians and professionals, and priests.  I wonder if we’re so jaded by breaches of trust we prefer to live without heroes most of the time.

 

            Or maybe the saints are out of touch because our culture canonizes so many anti-saints in their stead; the plain-looking Curé of Ars, St. John Vianney, competing with the looks of a Brad Pitt; the mega-wealth of Warren Buffett outperforming the poverty of St. Francis of Assisi and the bluster of Donald Trump dominating the spirit of St. Louis IX, the “monk king” of France.

 

            Or maybe a saint’s just too hard to reconcile with a democratic spirit.  After all, we’re talking about the Christian elite, representatives of a noble class, marked with a special seal, with a special place before God’s throne, wearing special robes? (Cf. I).  Like Christian royalty they stand above the crowd.  Something we resent in a republic like ours.

 

            Or maybe the whole idea of a saint is just plain old-fashioned: a figure from the Christian heyday, long since past.  When there was time for something like holiness; when virtue was a word in the air, and the odor of sanctity pleasant.  For we can imagine a saint -- can’t we? – from the distant past: someone in a Roman toga being thrown to the lions, someone wearing a monk’s cowl or nun’s veil from the Middle Ages, but not someone in a business suit, a lab coat, or an evening gown.

 

            Yes, the saints have lost their touch.  Or have they?

 

            I have been impressed by the amount of interest shown earlier this month in the beatification of Carlo Acutis, born in 1991 -- the first millennial to be so honored -- who died of leukemia at the age of 15.  I think what fascinates people about him is the comfortable way an intense spiritual life focused on the Eucharist and devotion to the Rosary co-existed with his expertise with computers (he was known as a “computer geek”),  his love of  soccer, Pokémon and PlayStation.  He lay in his tomb dressed in jeans, Nike trainers, and tracksuit top. As the cardinal who presided at the beatification ceremony in Assisi where Carlo is buried said, “He showed that faith does not distance us from life, but rather deeply immerses us in it, indicating for us the concrete path to live the joy of the Gospel. It’s up to us to follow him, attracted by the fascinating experience of Blessed Carlo, so that our lives can shine with light and hope.” So, if anything, the interest in him shows me how people are looking for examples of holiness in the ordinary circumstances of daily life today.

 

            Which is not to say that religious life, from which so many saints have been drawn, like the Trappist and Benedictine monks, and the Carmelite nuns who live near me -- people devoted to prayer and sacrifice for the church and the world – should be thought of as out of touch.  Nor the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Sisters of Mercy -- religious women who have devoted themselves to more active forms of service.  Nor the innumerable martyrs of our time like Bl. Stanley Rother from Oklahoma who was murdered in Guatemala in 1981 or the five Adorers of the Blood of Christ murdered in Liberia in 1992.  They have been added to the great multitude of  those who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb (II).

 

            But it is to say there may well be saints among your own friends and neighbors in parishes large and small who are involved in a host of religious, civic, volunteer and charitable endeavors, married and family life, and many other forms of loving commitment to others: today’s poor in spirit, [today’s] mourners, [today’s] meek, thirsting for righteousness, merciful, clean of heart, peacemaking, and [yes, often enough], persecuted: all of them blessed  (cf. G).

 

            So maybe the saints are more in touch than I thought. Some of them might even be living next door to you, or in your own house, maybe the pew next to you. And all of them very touchable.  For after all, every one of us belongs to the communion of saints. Not just those in heaven, but all of us, who are God’s children now; [though] what we shall be has not yet been revealed (II).  But we hope that when it is, we’ll be among the saints who go marchin’ in to the kingdom of God, singing their song of victo­ry: Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God, forever and ever.  Amen (I).

 

Creed

Intercessions

That poverty of spirit characterize the prayer and worship, the charity and service of Christ’s Church on earth.

That the celebration of All Saints might foster the unity of Christ’s Body.

That our children grow in meekness, mercy, and purity of heart; that servants of peace rescue the persecuted and oppressed.

That hunger for righteousness heal the wounds of terrorism and war.

That government officials foster human life at every stage and practice preferential service to the poor.

That the values and priorities enshrined in the Beatitudes will govern those who will choose their elected leaders this week.

For the healing of hatred, division and violence in our country and for a fair and peaceful outcome to this week’s elections.  

That our sick abide in the holiness of Christ's suffering.

That our deceased be one with the Lamb and his Holy Ones in the Kingdom.

All-holy God, you call your people to holiness. As we keep the festival of your saints, give us their meekness and poverty of spirit, a thirst for righteousness, and purity of heart.

May we share with them the richness of your kingdom and be clothed in the glory you bestow.  Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Offertory Hymn (John Michael Talbot)

 

Blessed are the poor in spirit
Theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are those who mourn
They shall be comforted
They shall be comforted

Blessed are the lowly of heart
They shall inherit the earth
Blest are those who hunger for God
Nevermore shall they hunger or thirst
Nevermore shall they hunger or thirst

Blessings upon the disciples of Jesus
Blessings upon all the multitudes
Blessings upon those who climb the mountain
With Jesus the Lord, with Jesus our Lord

Blessed are those who show mercy
They shall inherit the mercy of God
Blessed are the pure…

Lord’s Prayer

God’s will is our sanctification; to that end we pray as Jesus taught....

Spiritual Communion

I wish, Lord, to receive you with the purity, humility and devotion with which your most holy Mother received you, with the spirit and fervour of the saints.

Communion Antiphon

 

Closing Hymn (Ralph Vaughan Williams)

 

For all the saints, who from their labors rest, Who Thee by faith before the world confessed, Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blessed. Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their rock, their fortress and their might; Thou, Lord, their captain in the well fought fight; Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light. Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine! We feebly struggle, they in glory shine; Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine. Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west; Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest; Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed. Alleluia, Alleluia!

But yonder breaks a yet more glorious day; The saints triumphant rise in bright array; The King of glory passes on His way. Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast, Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host, And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost: Alleluia, Alleluia!

 

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