Reflections - November 1, 2015

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”  Mt. 5:3.
This week we celebrate the Feast of All Saints and All Souls Day.  I would like to reflect on these celebrations.
The Feast of All Saints was celebrated universally by the whole Church beginning in the 9th century.  However since the beginning of Christianity the primitive Christian community felt a deep veneration for all the martyred men, women, and children who gave their lives for Christ.  After the persecutions Christians continued honoring the memory of the martyrs, but also the memory of other Christians that sometimes anonymously had given example and fidelity to Christ.
Whenever this day comes I remember so many people that throughout my life were an example of living faith.  Who does not remember a grandmother, an aunt, a father, a mother, priests, and nuns who anonymously gave us an example in difficult situations encouraging, comforting, and giving many times “until the end”.  “The Kingdom of heaven” belongs to these poor in spirit.
This feast of All Saints is a call to holiness by living the Will of the Father in our daily life.  Pope Francis says:  “In the following of the Lord when struggle or surveillance is absent…..many temptations to idolatry arise….we manufacture idols… put our hopes there…..and in the end what we want is to control God.  This is the temptation of God’s enemy that attacks us with the sins of conceit, arrogance, pseudo truths, and selfishness.  All of these temptations separate us from being poor in spirit and of holiness of life”.
The celebration of All Souls Day is also a day to remember all those brothers and sisters who have already left this world, family and friends, and that are in the presence of God.  “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, what God has prepared for those who love him.”  1 Cor. 2:9.
Other deceased brothers and sisters in purgatory need our prayers and sacrifices while they are being purified to enter into the “new heaven and the new earth”, with the triumphant Church, with Christ and His Blessed Mother.  That is our homeland.  There is our eternal family, “the poor in spirit”.