Friday, November 01, 2013
Today, on this glorious feast day, the Church celebrates all the saints: canonized or beatified, and the multitude of those who are in heaven enjoying the beatific vision who are known only to God. During the early centuries, the saints venerated by the Church were all martyrs. Later on the Popes set November 1 as the day for commemorating all the Saints.
All Saints Day is one of my favorite days of the liturgical year. I have so many saint friends in heaven who are constantly interceeding for me. The special saints in my life are many, but I will share just a few who have influenced my life in powerful ways. I was born on the feast of St. Dominic,baptized on the feast of St. Pius X, and chose St. Catherine of Siena (a Dominican) for my Confirmation saint. I was named after St. Joan of Arc, the patron saint of France, and St. John the beloved disciple. I am an oblate with the Community of St. John, which was founded by a French Dominican priest. One of the community's patron saints is St. Therese of Lisieux, a French Carmelite nun, whom I wrote my Master's thesis on this past year. St. Therese helped me in my work and made it possible for me to attain a much desired goal. St. Pius X, who was known as the "Pope of the Eucharist", advocated frequent Communion for adults, sacramental preparation for children, and instruction in catechism for everyone. Perhaps, it was through his intercession that I returned to the Church after a long absence due to my longing for the Eucharist. It may have been through his prayers that I developed such a deep love for the Eucharist and have for many years served as a Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.
Today, on this feast of All Saints, a group of people are making a decision, which will have a great impact on my life, and you can bet that I am asking all my friends in heaven to pray for me. Isn't it amazing and thrilling to know that there are a multitude of souls in heaven praying for you and cheering you on to reach your heavenly goal? It's not just coincidence that you are reading this or pondering your future in heaven. God calls each one of us to holiness so we can join Him in eternal bliss. What must we to do in order to join the company of the saints in heaven? We "must follow in His footsteps and conform [our]selves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things. [We] must devote [our]selves with all [our] being to the glory of God and the service of [our] neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good, as is admirably shown by the life of so many saints in Church history" (Lumen Gentium, 40).
As Catholics, we are given so many graces to get to heaven and the communion of saints is just one more glorious opportunty to make that dream possible. Praise God for his heavenly saints! May He guide us and mold each one of us into saints, though their intercession.