From the pastor’s desk on the feasts of All Saints and All Souls
The liturgical celebration of All Saints reminds us of our destiny, which is a life with God in heaven. This feast should be distinguished, however, from that of All Souls Day, which falls a day after the All Saints Day. In the celebration of all the saints we recognize those saints, who are already with God, but are not officially named by the Church on earth. Their names, however, are inscribed in heaven (see Revelation 2:17). In this particular feast we learn that we all have to be saints in order to be with God in heaven, since nothing unholy can be there, but only those who were purified in the blood of the Lamb and showed the good deeds of faith while living on earth (see Revelation 7:14 & 14:13; Matthew 25:31-45).
In the feast of All Saint we also acknowledge that there is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ. Although there may be many good people in other faiths and traditions throughout the world, there is only One Way (John 14:6) to salvation and to the life with God in heaven – we get “there” only through Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our Lord asserted about this in the gospel: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). Thus, in this feast we also pray for all people who do not believe in Christ, that they may come to the knowledge of true faith in God revealed to us in Christ Jesus. Faithful to God's word, the Second Vatican Council teaches about this truth: “By this revelation then, the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines forth in Christ, who is at the same time the mediator and the fullness of all revelation” (Dei verbum, 2).
As for those who have died, but they are not in heaven yet, these are souls of the faithful departed that are being purified and prepared in the purgatory. Yes, the Church still believes in purgatory, and yes we believe that not all of us go immediately to heaven. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states on this matter (no. 1030-1031):
“All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”
Hence, as we celebrate those who already enjoy the bliss of heaven—the saints—let us not forget those who rely on our prayers in order to get there. For that, a particular tradition of offering the sacrifice of Holy Mass for the dead is highly praised. Numerous saints had an insight on that when they saw visions of the souls in purgatory. Those long to see God and the offering of the Holy Mass advances their way to heaven, for it is the same offering of Jesus Christ who died for all our sins on the Cross.
While pondering on the lives of the saints, we also recognize how many struggles and uncertainties they had to endure in their lives. We also have to endure many uncertainties, especially now, as we prepare to vote in the presidential elections. Before we cast a vote this week, let us pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that not our will, but God’s will be done so that a suitable candidate may chosen reflecting God’s plan for America and the entire humanity.
God bless you all. God bless America!
Fr. Janusz Mocarski, pastor