Solemnity of All Saints: Already, but not yet…
Franciscan Reflections From The Hermitage – Solemnity of All Saints
Celebrated in South Africa on the 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time – Already, but not yet…(Matthew 5:1-12)
Since the second century Apostles’ Creed, the Church affirms, “I believe in the Communion of the Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?” This is a creedal statement, the Communion of Saints. This is the union of our Christian faith that we have shared for two thousand years.
The Apostles Creed is a brief statement of our core beliefs as Catholics. It is called the Apostle’s Creed because our ancient traditions date the profession of our faith back to the Apostles themselves. It was created for the first time in Rome toward the end of the 2nd century.
Anyone who asked to be baptised was required to make this profession of faith before they entered into the church. This ensured that the new Catechumens agreed with the core teachings of Christianity before they were baptised.
Even today, when we recite the Apostles Creed together, it is an affirmation of our agreement with the truths of Christianity contained in these words. The Apostles Creed is the foundation of our Catholic faith and is the first part of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is founded on.
In the New Testament Scriptures, people are called ‘saints’ sixty-three times, individual saints and communities of saints. When Scripture speaks of saints, the one thing all those people have in common, is they are not dead, they are all alive… the saints in Corinth, the saints in Philippi, the saints in Ephesus, the saints in your local parish. A reminder, first, that we are called to be saints, and that our sainthood is already rooted in the victory of Jesus Christ over death.
We are all made saints already, by our baptism, through the Eucharist becoming partakers in the redeeming superabundant love of Jesus, but somehow, we must catch up with our best selves of who we really are.
We are all on this journey of overcoming our pride and hubris, our often distorted and disordered love, scapegoating of others, are judgemental, condemning, and dismissive attitudes, and the anger and violence of our viper tongues that we mask and hide as righteous anger.
Each one of us has valuable gifts to share with the world. However, these gifts will not come to full fruition until we stop placing so much of our valuable energy on ‘the other’. Our mimetic and competitive self-serving desires to place full attention on others and their flaws and shortcomings while simultaneously refusing to see and acknowledge our own black-speckled hearts, our own disowned self-serving natures, our own disowned mean-spiritedness, and our own chaotic and disruptive energy.
Know Thyself… fully… And then you must forgive yourselves. Then you can begin to heal and eventually Truly Love yourselves… and your neighbour in that likeness.
The saints that we name include great giants from the past, such as St. Peter and Paul, St Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Vincent de Paul, St Catherine of Siena, St. Clare of Assisi, the great Theresa’s of Avalon and Liseux and of Calcutta. More than 10,000 holy men and women have witnessed the Way, the Truth, and the Life that we are called to live within the church. Thousands of these holy men and women have through the centuries paid the ultimate price of martyrdom as witnesses to this truth.
In the likeness of the early apostolic church we too are called to remember and honour those saints who are alive among us, people much closer and dearer to us, in many cases, our parents, our friends, teachers… all those who have been our inspiration on our own journeys. These are the people whose love and sacrifice have touched us, upheld us, and inspired us. We know them and we remember them as God also knows our own first name and loves us.
And so we can say to our beloved dead, especially on this weekend and through this month of November, “Until we meet again, remain in peace, blissful as faithful friends of God, and keep our love with you”.
- First Sunday of Advent Reflection: Wake Up and Remember - December 1, 2023
- Christ the King Reflection: Freed From Our Addiction To Glory - November 24, 2023
- 33rd Sunday Reflection: Love comes to those who have Love already - November 17, 2023