Today’s solemn feast day of All Hallows or All Saints is celebrated every year with serious attention so that we do not forget what our life as Christians is about. It is all about salvation. We exist for one reason – to be ultimately joined to God in an existence, a new family of relationships, a new world where a new heaven and a new earth exist together and forever.
The Christian believes in the coming of this new Kingdom of God, a renewed community of the faithful where all will be saints. All who have gone to their rest in the hope of the fulfillment of God we already call saints. What makes a human being compatible in the company of saints is “holiness”.
Holiness allows, not only able to approach God but to see him face to face. “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.” But holiness also allows us to notice how the things of heaven are also very much alive and active in the world, especially in the sacraments of the Church. Through the Word of God and before this altar, we encounter the very person Jesus Christ to gather all his disciples around Him still, whether they be in heaven or on earth. If we are to be numbered among them, we are called to be saints too – for where Christ is present, so too are the saints.
Saints are those who rest in the assurance of God’s peace. They are our heavenly brothers and sisters, our extended family in the embrace of God. When we look upon a picture of them and ask them to pray for us, we long to experience that rest and peace, that enjoy and wish to extend to us, from all the anxieties of this fallen world and our, far from perfect lives.
But the saints we revere and not refugees from earth. They are still, like us, citizens of both heaven and earth and members of the Church. While they Were with us, they sought to be faithful to God and loyal to the Church, not simply in the big events of their earthly lives. More importantly, they were as much authentic Christians when nobody was watching them or when they were alone and away from the public eye.
And that’s the difference between sainthood and knighthood! The Church bestows recognition of a certain person with the honor of being called a saint, not because they were champions and heroes and did great things. The Church recognizes a Christian as a saint because, even in the secret of their lives, beyond the glimpse of spectators, these men and women led lives of authentic prayer, sacrifice, and devotion to God. For this reason, there are more saints of God whose names we do not know and whose life’s stories have and never will be told. To be included, one day, in their company, is all we need to pray for.
To inspire us to be authentic Christian disciples, of course, we look to Mary (CCC 2679). To be united with her in prayer, as were the first disciples of her Son, we pray that with God’s grace, one day she will take us by the hand and lead us through the gates and into the very heart of God, and in the company of all the saints, to look upon the face of Jesus Christ, her Son, and our Lord and God in the Kingdom of God.