At the Angelus prayer on Friday, Pope Francis reflects on the Solemnity of All Saints, and reminds us that holiness is both a gift and an invitation.
“Today’s Solemnity of All Saints reminds us that we are all called to holiness.”
That was how Pope Francis summed up the feast, in his Angelus address to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
He said the Saints are not some distant, unreachable human beings. But rather they trod the same difficult path of life along which we travel, with all its successes and failures.
Holiness, said the Pope, cannot be achieved through our own strength. It is “the fruit of God’s grace and our free response to it”, making it both a gift and a call.
As a gift given by God, holiness cannot be bought but only welcomed with the help of the Holy Spirit.
“It is a matter of growing ever more in the awareness that we are grafted onto Christ, as the branch is united to the vine,” he said, “and therefore we can and must live with Him and in Him as children of God.”
Call to answer
Pope Francis said the Saints show us that holiness is also a call extended to all Christ’s disciples.
“It is the path of fullness that every Christian is called to follow in faith, proceeding towards the final goal: definitive communion with God in eternal life.” Holiness requires us to embrace God’s gift responsibly and to “take on a serious and daily commitment to sanctification in all the conditions, duties, and circumstances of our lives, seeking to live everything with love, with charity.”
Imitate our predecessors
The Saints who now stand before the throne of God admitted during life that they needed the divine light and so abandoned themselves to it in trust, said the Pope. “They constitute the ‘Holy City’ to which we look with hope as our definitive goal, as we make our way through this ‘earthly city’, fatigued by the bitterness of the journey.”
So, he said, “we are encouraged to imitate them.”
Lift eyes to Heaven
Remembering the Saints, concluded Pope Francis, “impels us to raise our eyes to Heaven: not to forget the realities of the earth, but to face them with more courage and hope.”
And he asked the Virgin Mary to accompany us “as a sign of consolation and sure hope.”
By Devin Watkins