Let us learn something more about All Saints and about some traditions that are popular worldwide on this day. On the Solemnity of All Saints, November 1, the Church celebrates those Christians who achieved spiritual maturity. It is a day to venerate all the holy men and women who have been canonized by the Church. The first evidence for the November 1 date of celebration and of the broadening of the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs occurred during the reign of Pope Gregory III (731–741), who dedicated a chapel in St. Peter’s, Rome, on November 1 in honor of all saints. On November 1st each year, people flock to their family plots in cemeteries across the country. They also use this holiday to hold a family reunion where groups of an extended family gather together. The day is filled with music and food. There is also prayer and religious traditions. There was also a superstition that All Souls’ night was a time when the dead revisited their homes, therefore some people would leave lit candles outside their homes to help to guide the deceased souls. Meals and wine were also left out as refreshments for them. Much like Halloween in other countries, All Souls’ Day is marked by the consumption of impressive quantities of sugar – particularly in the form of frutta martorana, beautiful marzipan sweets in the shape of fresh fruits and vegetables, and ossa dei morti, almond biscuits.
Today in Revelation 7:9-10 we read the following sentence: `After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”` People from every nation, tribe and language will be standing before the throne and before the Lamb (Jesus). Every person is welcome to serve God and to become holy. God does not make distinction between people or discriminate based on one`s nationality. Here, in Germany I can see many foreigners on the streets. There are many Ukrainian refugees, people from Balkan countries, people from North African countries and other migrants. But not all of them have the same status. In finding a job, using the rights and in everyday life knowing local language is a must, plus bearing the EU citizenship opens many doors. People from third world country have many difficulties in acquiring their visa and also surviving in this country. Similar situation is in many countries worldwide. The language matters, the origin matters, the tribe matters. With Heavenly Jerusalem it will be different. No visa would be needed, no new language course and so on. The only visa for resident permission for eternal stay with God will be our faith in Jesus.
In John 3:1-3 it is written: `See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure` We are all called children of God and we should all considered each other like brothers and sisters. This is why we also pray to saints. Since today in All Saints Day we also remember all saints it is good to talk about the beauty and blessings of prayers to saints. In some Christian denominations people do not pray to saints fearing that it could look like worshiping them and we know that there is only one God and only God should be worshipped. But what we really do when we pray to saints we ask them to pray to God together with us. It is similar as when we ask our friend from the church to pray for us. Mostly all prayers that we pray to saints end with `pray for us` and this is the right prayer. We can pray and to angels as well. They are all servants of the Lord and we can as them to pray God for us, too.
Here is a beautiful prayer for All Saints Day:
Dear God, thank you for the example of the Saints. I desire to join in their company, worshiping you forever in Heaven. Please help me follow their footsteps, and yours, Jesus Christ. Please help me to conform myself to Your image, seeking Your will in all things, as the Saints did. Please help me to devote myself, and all that I do, to Your glory, and to the service of my neighbors. Amen.