Solemnity of All Saints
Sunday, 1 November 2020
“After this I saw a great multitude which no man could number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and with palms in their hands.” Rev.7:9
Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year Vol. 15, tells us that the Feast of All Saints commemorates all those souls in heaven who have not been officially recognized by the Church as Saints: “Time is no more; it is the human race eternally saved that is thus presented in a vision to the prophet of Patmos (St. John, author of the Book of Revelation). Our life of struggle and suffering on earth is, then, to have an end. Our long-lost race is to fill up the angelic ranks thinned by Satan’s revolt; and, uniting in the gratitude of the redeemed of the Lamb, the faithful spirits will sing with us: ‘Thanksgiving, honour, and power, and strength to our God for ever and ever.’” Rev. 7:12 Gueranger, p. 57. These elect souls have lived good lives by loving God and their neighbours and obeying God’s Commandments, and they are now enjoying the delights of heaven. Have you ever really considered what heaven is like? Today, many people only think of this life and forget that God has prepared a place of great happiness for all those who love him. St. Paul tells us, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard nor has it entered into the heart of man what things God has prepared for those who love him.” I Cor. 2:9
The Beatific Vision
The primary joy of heaven is seeing God face to face. This is such a great joy that it is the basis for all the other joys of heaven. Without the Beatific Vision heaven would not be heaven. We can only imagine what God’s beauty must be like. He who created this world so beautiful what must He be like as He is the creator of this world’s beauty? St. Paul tells us: “For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made...” Rom 1:20 Thus the Beatific vision, which is the essential reward of the blessed, is seeing One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit with all His power, majesty and beauty. Then in the light of God’s glory is the beauty first of all of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God who has prayed and given the saints and ourselves all the graces necessary to gain heaven. She is the Queen of Angels and Saints. Then there are the multitude of angelic hosts and the many canonized saints to whom we have prayed for many favours. Then there will be all of our loved ones and our relatives of many generations and friends whom we have known on earth and who have been awaiting our entrance into heaven these many years. It will be the most wonderful reunion possible for all peoples from all times.
A Place of Light and Space
Heaven will be a vast place of light and space where the souls of the just with their glorified bodies will go after the Last Judgment. It will be the heavenly Jerusalem built as a city which will be brighter than the sun with all manner of precious stones and gold: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away ...Behold I make all things new.” Rev. 21:4 As nothing on earth is more pleasing than light, heaven will be brighter than anything we have seen on earth. It will also be vast and filled with peace: “O Israel, how great is the House of God and how vast is the place of his possession.” Baruch 3:24 The same lovely things of earth: flowers, trees, fruits, etc. will be in the gardens of heaven.
Qualities of the Glorified Body
Our glorified bodies will shine brightly according to the amount of sanctifying grace in our soul. The quality of brightness will correspond to the amount of grace in the soul: “Those that teach others unto justice shall shine like the stars for all eternity.” Dan. 12:3 The glorified body will also have the gift of impassability by which it will not be capable of suffering nor will it ever be sick or tired or grow old or hungry or thirsty. The glorified body will have the quality of agility as it will be able to move any place with a mere thought and without any fatigue. The body will also have the gift of subtlety by which it will be able to move through any material. The body which has mortified itself of pleasure for the love of God on earth will be filled with pleasure for all the senses: the sense of sight will be given all the beauty and delights of heaven; the soul will hear the beautiful music of the heavenly choirs of angels for their ears; the sense of taste will be satisfied in ways which we cannot imagine: “Thou shalt make them drink of the torrents of thy pleasure” Ps. 35:9; the sense of smell will be pleasing with the aromas of delight; and the sense of touch and feeling will experience comfort and enjoyment which, according to St. Anselm, will provide a wondrous sense of peace and contentment.
Bond of Charity
All the glorified souls in heaven will be united in a great bond of charity. They will be re-united with all their loved ones on earth, and as there will be no imperfections in heaven, everyone will love everyone else perfectly even if they did not do so on earth. How could heaven have any disagreements or hatreds? All these weaknesses would have been purged away in Purgatory before entrance into heaven “without spot or wrinkle” Eph. 5:27 Those in heaven will know and love everyone else as brothers and sisters know one another on earth. Each will read the other’s heart and see the mutual love. More especially, there will be great love for those who have been responsible for them to get to heaven. “O God, how unspeakable will be the blessed of heaven.”
Spiritual Joys of the Soul
The soul which is comprised of the memory, understanding and will shall have a perfect happiness. The memory will recall the events of life and exult in God’s care for it during its life. The understanding (intellect) will know all created things in the light of God; all natural and supernatural mysteries of our faith and the scriptures will be known. The will, the noblest of the soul’s faculties, will be confirmed in love for God and all the saints and angels. Now all the soul’s desires will be ordered to God and His glory: “We know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” I Jn. 3:2 As there is no greater happiness on earth than to love and be loved, so in heaven the love of God for the soul and soul for God and all other souls will be boundless.
Live for heaven
While we have time on earth, let us live for eternity. Let us work for the salvation of souls. Let us pray and sacrifice as Our Lady said at Fatima, “For many souls will go to hell for no one prays and sacrifices for them.” If we pray and sacrifice now, many souls will be in heaven because of our efforts. Let us call to mind the words of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, “...Let us always think of heaven.” Let us remember and never forget what St. Paul said: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered the mind of man what God has prepared for those who love Him.” I Cor. 2:9 (cf. Is. 64:4
Souls in Purgatory: November is the month in which we remember the poor souls in Purgatory who cannot help themselves. They rely on us to shorten their time of purification. This year, All Souls Day (Commemoration of the Faithful Departed) will be celebrated on Monday, 2 November 2020.
All-Souls Lists: Please put the names of those who have died on the All-Souls list, and we will include them in our Masses during the month of November.