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Categorized | From the Pulpit

All Saints Day

Father Lam T. Le, Pastor

St. John Paul II Parish

3110 17 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs, Michigan • 616 696 3904

“They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev 7:14).

November commences with a great celebration, the Solemnity of All Saints. Another way to put it, “we venerate in one celebration the merits of all the saints” (see the Collect of November 1 in the Roman Missal). On this occasion, let us reflect on why the official teaching of the Church on the veneration of the saints has never lost sight of, but clarifies the principle enunciated in 1 Timothy 2: 5-6: “There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and man, the man is Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.” Let us ponder:  what does veneration of the saints mean and why do we participate in veneration?

Veneration of the saints means imitating the virtues lived by the saints, and through them, asking them to bring us closer to Christ. In our earthly life, we imitate the goodness of our fellow family members and ask them to pray with us and for us. In a similar fashion, we imitate the virtues of the members of our spiritual families by following Christ and we ask them to pray with us and for us. The water of baptism established a bond between all believers in Christ. This is the Communion of Saints which we profess every Sunday in the Creed. The proper veneration of the saints is an in-depth expression of baptismal grace: we are members of One Body with Christ as its Head, and thus all members are connected.

When the Church venerates the saints, it is acknowledging and proclaiming the victorious grace of the one Redeemer and Mediator, Christ. The Church is thanking the Father for the mercy that is bestowed in Christ, and that has taken visible, effective form in one of its members, and thus in the entire Church as a whole. This teaching is expressed so well in one of our prayers (the Preface of the Saints in Roman Missal): “For you are praised in the company of your saints and in crowing their merits, you crown your own gifts.”  

The prayer quoted above captures the very essence of the instructions from Second Vatican Council: “The Church has also included in the annual cycle days devoted to the memory of the martyrs and the other saints. Raised up to perfection by the manifold grace of God, and already in possession of eternal salvation, they sing God’s perfect praise in heaven and offer prayers for us. By celebrating the passage of these saints from earth to heaven, the Church proclaims the paschal mystery achieved in the saints who have suffered and been glorified with Christ; she proposes them to the faithful as examples drawing all to the Father through Christ, and through their merits she pleads for God’s favors” (Sacrosanctum Concilium no. 104).

On this November 1, let us join “a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, and people, and tongue” and to praise: “Salvation comes from our Lord, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb” (Rev 7: 9-10).

(Father Lam also is the Pastor of Mary Queen of Apostles Parish, 1 West Maple St, Sand Lake, Michigan 49343 phone: 616 636 5671)

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