All Saints' Day

As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us.
So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way,
and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly,
and let us run with determination the race that lies before us.
Hebrews 12:1 GNB

November 1st is the day set aside to commemorate all the saints and martyrs of our faith-known and unknown such as those martyred as a group. Altho it has been commemorated much longer, the day was made official by Pope Gregory IV in 837 A.D.

Before you freak out on me and scream something awful about papists, well, let's look at who are the saints. When we profess to follow Christ and are baptized into His death and raised into His life, we become part of the Communion of Saints. We are the saints to whom the Epistles are addressed. A saint is merely a person who earnestly tries to live out the Gospel and rely on Christ for their needs. Besides all these ideas were WAAAAYYYYY before the Reformation so just sit with it for a while.

“After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.... [One of the elders] said to me, ‘These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’” Revelation 7:9,14

On this day, I am reminded, and comforted, by that great cloud of witnesses. I am not alone in my struggle against sin, in my journey to becoming more like Christ, in my thirst for God. There are many, inhabiting this planet now and those who have already found their way Home, that have walked this path. I can read about them and find hope and courage. As brothers and sisters, we pray for one another. Geez, I chose to quit smoking on this day a couple years ago because altho I wanted to stop, felt convicted to quit (a little Christianese), had tried for years but could not, I decided a little extra help from the million (or however many) saints there might be couldn't hurt.

I still haven't smoked. Not only is my God watching. So are my brothers and sisters.

We celebrate today the solemnity of All Saints.
This invites us to turn our gaze to the immense multitude of
those who have already reached the blessed land,
and points us on the path that will lead us to that destination.
Pope John Paul II, All Saints' Day 2003


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