Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

All Saints Day—1 November A.D. 2018

Ave Maria!


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    In the early Church it was clearly obvious that the Blessed Virgin Mary, and those who had shed their blood for Christ were among the saints—the holy souls eternally in heaven.  It took a while to recognize and identify other saints—other than Mary and the Martyrs—as those who glorify God in eternity

    The Pantheon in Rome was a pagan temple that began to be built right around the time of Christ by Cæsar Augustus.  The name is Greek, and identifies it as a temple dedicated to all the false “gods” of pagan Rome.  In 610, Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon “to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs,” ordering the anniversary of the dedication to be observed every year thereafter on May 13th.  The date seems to have been chosen to displace a pagan feast of the dead.  For about a hundred years this day was the closest thing to “All Saints” day that the Church observed.

    Pope Gregory III (731–741) dedicated an oratory within Saint Peter's Basilica for the relics “of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world.”  Pope Gregory recognized that everyone who persevered in grace during their lifetime would become a saint in death—not just “Mary and the Martyrs.”  This oratory was dedicated on November 1st, which replaced the May 13th observance as “All Saints Day”—truly honoring all the saints.

    Centuries later the saintly Pope Leo XIII would call upon Saint Michael the Archangel to “Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil.”[1]  Pope Leo did not name a specific “man”—nor did he exclude any women—for we were all “created immortal” in God’s “own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price.”  That “great price” is the blood of Jesus Christ poured out for us on the Cross.  The gates of Heaven have been reopened to the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.

    But, note very carefully, that “great price” does not, of itself, make us saints!  It makes it possible for us to become saints, but it forces nothing upon us.  It is necessary that we obtain sanctifying grace, said metaphorically, to flow from the wound in the side of Christ.  Less metaphorically, we obtain this grace through prayer and the reception of the Sacraments—primarily Baptism, but the other Sacraments enhance it and repair it if it is lost.

    No one expects to pass through a gate—the gate of Heaven or even gates here on Earth—if we don’t travel toward them!  Here on Earth the path to the Heavenly gate is found in the keeping of God’s Commandments—any other path will lead to a fence at best, and probably to the gate to Hell itself.

    The reality of Hell should be an ever-conscious warning that it is possible to take the wrong path—to put one’s self on the path to eternal damnation and eternal suffering.  God has created us with the intellect to find the right path, and the free will to embrace it—the will must be free if it is to glorify God—but sometimes the will draws the intellect away from God, and on towards the gate of Hell.

    All Saints Day reminds us that we have seen saints from every walk of life.  Some are martyrs, monks, priests and nuns—but many are ordinary people—faithful husbands and wives, obedient children, noble soldiers, and even a few honest politicians.

    Far more importantly, it reminds that we can be one of them.  The sanctifying grace (from the wounded side of Christ) enables us to be one with them—indeed, to be one with Him!  We can! And we should! And we must be one with Jesus Christ!  If we choose to reject Him, everything is lost—we will not be saints—and we will be lost.


Let us pray:

Almighty and everlasting God,
Who hast given us in one feast to venerate the merits of all Thy saints;
we beseech Thee through the multitude of intercessors to grant us the desired abundance of Thy mercy.


[1] Prayer to Saint Michael, Pope Leo XIII 1888,





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