Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes sub honore Sanctorum omnium: de quorum solemnitate gaudent Angeli, et collaudant Filium Dei.—from Introit of Mass
Today is the feast of All Saints. I have always loved this feast, as well as tomorrow's exercises for the Faithful Departed, because they put our lives in perspective. This is an opportune time to assess where we will stand before the awesome judgment seat of Christ. Am I on the road to Heaven, with all the Saints? Will I have to make a painful purification in Purgatory? Or am I on my way apart from God, into the eternal fire given to the Devil and his fallen angels?
Holy Mother Church gives us a simple blueprint for sanctity to consider in today's Mass: Our Blessed Lord's eight beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount in St. Matthew's account of the Gospel. St. Augustine tells us that these beatitudes command our kindness towards our temporal commonwealth, but that our great focus must winnow at Heaven:
Neither is it marvel that the greater commandments be given touching the kingdom of heaven, and the lesser touching a commonwealth upon earth, since both are alike the gifts of that one God Who is the Maker alike of heaven and of earth. The higher and greater righteousness, then, is that whereof the Prophet saith: Thy righteousness is like the mountains of God. Thus is that Teacher, Who alone can give such teaching, mystically represented as teaching upon a mountain. And when He was set. The attitude of sitting while teaching appertaineth to the majesty of His instruction. His disciples came unto Him nearer in the body, to hear those precepts, by the fulfilment of which they should be nearer in spirit. And He opened His Mouth, and taught them, saying These words And He opened His Mouth, appear redundant to the sense. It may possibly be that this more pompous introduction is adopted on account of the exceptional length of the discourse to follow. But it may also be that these words are not really redundant, but the pointed declaration that He now opened His Own Mouth, Who, under the Old Law, had been used to open the mouths of the Prophets.—from the third nocturn at Matins
Have we abided by Jesus's precepts? Let us keep the Saints, those venerable friends of God, close by as our own friends and our models in life. We are already blessed to have God's Virgin Mother as our own Mother (John 20:27) and a guardian angel. We may also ask the prayers of the Saints in Heaven (Apocalypse Ch. 5), not only those canonized Saints who have their great devotions and feasts, but those recalled today, who lived life as unassumingly and quietly as we do, who wanted nothing other than an eternity with God.
The introit of today's Mass:
Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a feast day in honor of all the Saints, on whose solemnity the angels rejoice, and join in praising the Son of God.Ps 32:1
Exult, you just, in the Lord; praise from the upright if fitting.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a feast day in honor of all the Saints, on whose solemnity the angels rejoice, and join in praising the Son of God.