Every year we begin the month of November, by remembering both the Saints and those who have died. "All Saints Day" (Nov. 1) and "All Souls Day" (Nov. 2). The Saints are our ancestors and friends -- that "cloud of witnesses" who have offered their witness and encouragement, who have shown us how to persevere through times of trials and troubles and who now continue to praise and worship God before His throne in heaven. We believe that they "intercede" for us here below, and in a special way, they are linked with us in what we call "the communion of Saints." They are our prayer partners praying with us and for us.
All Souls Day is a source of consolation and hope for each of us. It is dedicated to the memory, not just of the Saints but also to all the faithful departed. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a "purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven," which is experienced by those "who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified" (CCC 1030).
The purification is necessary because, as Scripture teaches, nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in heaven (Rev. 21:27) and, while we may die with our mortal sins forgiven, there can still be many impurities in us, specifically venial sins and the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.
Revelation 7:9–17 is the writer’s vision of multitudes from every nation – including those who have suffered in their faith – coming to live in God’s reign. God’s gift of salvation to all peoples is received by God’s people with endless, wondrous worship.
The Gospel today recalls for us Jesus' teaching about happiness, the Beatitudes. What does Jesus mean when he uses the word “blessed?” This word is sometimes translated as “happy” or “fortunate” or “favored.” The Beatitudes can be understood as a framework for Christian living – a new attitude of disciples towards God, oneself and our neighbor. Saints are people who lived the spirit of the Beatitudes as Jesus lived. On this day, we too are challenged to model our lives on the spirit and promises of the Beatitudes.
1] Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Be POOR IN SPIRIT. That is, detach yourself from earthly possessions that distract, and attach yourself or rely completely to God.
2] Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Be MOURNFUL ABOUT SIN. Take sin seriously. Recognize how awful it is – and be sorry for your sins.
3] Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Be MEEK. A person that is meek is one that exhibits self-control.
4] Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Be STARVING FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Strive continuously to live more in line with God’s word.
5] Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Be MERCIFUL. Step outside your comfort zone, and into the lives of the needy. Live out the gospel in the world, demonstrating self-sacrificial compassion to those in need.
6] Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Be PURE IN HEART. Give sin no foothold in your life. God is holy and cannot occupy the same space as evil. Your heart belongs to God.
7] Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Be a PEACEMAKER. Actively pursue healing broken relationships.
8] Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Be ON THE FRONTLINES. Remember that you are engaged in a spiritual battle and get out there and fight! Staying out of it might mean you’re safe from persecution and harm, but you will surely miss out on the blessing of God.