Posted by: fvbcdm | November 1, 2011

Solemnity of All Saints (1 Nov 2011)

Today we celebrate a solemnity, the highest rank of the days in the church calendar. It is the Solemnity of All Saints. And we can be sure that there is a connection between the natural harvest of crops in each part of the world, and the supernatural harvest of souls into the divine granaries and barns of God in heaven, regardless of when an individual person dies.
Our Divine Lord begins his preaching, according to the account of his public life in the gospel of Saint Matthew, by giving us the beatitudes.  What are they? They are eight statements of what kind of people are happy, blessed, holy.  The Latin adjective “beatus” or “beata” gives us the noun “beatitude”; thus “happy” leads to “happiness,” which is what “beatitude” means. And how does Our Lord describe a happy person? a blessed person? a holy person? He gives us these eight elements which, when put all together, gives the profile of the holy, happy, blessed one.
Now, when we come to celebrate All Saints Day, whom do we think about in the category of all the saints? Well, the canonized ones of course; those whose statues or pictures we find in our churches or homes. The Mother of Our Lord, the apostles, the doctors and fathers of the Church, the martyrs, the founders and foundresses of religious orders and communities.  Even those who have been contemporaneous with us. Padre Pio; Mother Katherine Drexel, Pope John Paul II, whom I met personally and even touched hands with him and we spoke to one another.

But let’s not forget our parents, siblings perhaps, relatives and friends, teachers and other good influences and examples in our lives who have brought us to where we are now, to be WHO we are now.  I had an aunt—my father’s sister—whom I loved and venerated even in our own lifetime.  I loved to go spend days at her house when I was a child and a teenager in New Orleans.  She got up very early in the morning to attend a 5 o’clock Mass at the nearby parish church.  I knew that, and would ask her to wake me up so that I could go with her.  It was pitch dark as we would walk to the church, and, in winter, even when we were coming home.  Another of my aunts who was nowhere as devout as the first one, said to me one day, “It’s a shame for Nan to make you get up that early in the morning.”  Her saying that was a clear indication of the difference between those two women.  Nan didn’t MAKE me get up.  I got up because it was a joy for me to do so.  Had the other one waked me up, I’d have gone to Mass with her too, but she was not a daily Mass-goer, she went on Sunday. Those walks from house to church in the early darkness are with me to this day and have had something to do with making me who and what I am.  So today, as I celebrate All Saints Day, I remember Nan and am pretty sure that she is one of the blessed in heaven.  I hope that both she and the other aunt are among the beatae: the blessed ones, the happy ones, the holy ones.  And I hope that you who listen to or read these words, and I, will before long be among those blessed ones, too. Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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