November 1, 2021
On the Solemnity of All Saints Pope Francis leads the recitation of the Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square reflecting on how the Beatitudes show us the path that leads to the Kingdom of God and to happiness. To be a saint, he says, is to walk on this road, especially through joy and prophecy manifested in our lives.
By Vatican News staff writer
Addressing the many pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for Monday’s Angelus on the Solemnity of All Saints, Pope Francis focused his thoughts on today’s liturgy highlighting the Beatitudes, the path followed by the Saints that leads to God’s Kingdom and to happiness, and that consists in humility, compassion, meekness, justice and peace. He spoke about two aspects of this way of life: joy and prophecy.
No holiness without joy
Jesus begins the Beatitudes with the word “Blessed”, which means great happiness, the “joyful discovery of being God’s beloved sons and daughters”, the Pope underscored, saying that this is a gift we receive as God comes to “dwell in our lives” and hence “we are blessed”. A Christian’s joy then is not a passing moment of happiness or optimism, but one grounded in the certainty of facing all life’s situations under “God’s loving gaze”, drawing courage and strength from it. The Saints are great witnesses to this fact, having lived through so many tribulations, yet always bearing witness to the joy of being loved and sustained by God. Without joy, the Pope noted, faith can risk becoming a “rigorous and oppressive” exercise. We should ask ourselves if we radiate joy in our own lives, or do we have a “funeral face”, the Pope said, emphasizing that “there is no holiness without joy.”
Prophetic witness in our lives
The second dimension the Pope pointed out is “prophecy”, nothing that the Beatitudes are addressed to the poor, the persecuted and to those who desire justice. It’s a message that goes against the worldly recipe for happiness that is focused on seeking riches, power, and fame. Jesus instead says that “true fullness of life is achieved by following Him, by putting His Word into practice”, the Pope said, and this requires seeing that we are nothing without God and must make room for Him in our lives in order to truly find joy.
Prophecy of a new humanity
In conclusion, the Pope summed up how the Beatitudes reflect “the prophecy of a new humanity” and a new way of living our lives by making ourselves small and putting all our trust in God. All this entails what the Beatitudes call for: meekness over might, mercy over selfishness, working for justice and peace over promoting or complicity with injustice and inequality. With God’s help, the Pope said, holiness means accepting and carrying out “this prophecy that revolutionises the world”. We should ask ourselves then how much we bear witness to the prophecy of Jesus, he added, or whether we simply conform to life’s comforts and worldly ways. He prayed that the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose blessed soul joyfully magnified the Lord, might help us follow the path of the Beatitudes, the way of the Saints.