07 ALL SAINTS’ DAY: A Great Cloud of Witnesses - Leon Bent

posted Oct 24, 2018, 7:52 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 24, 2018, 7:53 AM ]
All Saints' Feast is a solemn, holy day of the Catholic Church, celebrated annually on November 1. It is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. It is an opportunity for believers to remember all the saints and martyrs, known and unknown, throughout Christian history: "Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses..." (Hebrews 12:1).

It is a perfect time to remember that God has made you special, for Him and His purposes, and that He has joined you into the eternal, worldwide fellowship of all His saints. Moreover, it's a good day to take seriously the fact that God wants to make Himself known in this world through you as a member of the family of all saints.

Let us not just remember the saints once each year, but may we celebrate our mystical communion with them through Jesus Christ our Lord everyday - and in a special way every time we gather at the Lord's Table, through Holy Communion.

The number of Saints present is beyond counting, as was beheld by the Apostle John in the book of Revelation:

"After these things, I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God." (Revelation 7:9-11)

"All it takes to make a man a saint is Grace. Anyone who doubts this knows neither what makes a saint nor a man," Pascal observes in Pensées. Grace is the fire of divine love. "Always a psalm on the lips; always Christ in the heart!" (John Cassian). Mystics also define grace as "sublime wisdom" (St John of the Cross). Teilhard de Chardin sees mystically, "the whole world as an altar, and calls out to God." This energy, this power overwhelms us: when a blind stirring of love rises in the heart, from 'who-knows-not-where' (The Cloud of Unknowing).