Sunday, November 1, 2015
Reflection: Solemnity of All Saints – Matthew 5:1-12a
Solemnity of All Saints – Matthew 5:1-12a
This feast of All Saints was instituted by Emperor Louis the Pious in 840A.D. when Pope Gregory IV requested that the feast be introduced into his territories. With the consent of the bishops of Germany and France, the Emperor ordered it to be celebrated on November 1st in the whole empire. Then in 1484, Pope Sixtus IV established this feast as a holy day of obligation for the entire Latin Church. This feast has been celebrated for many centuries.
This feast had a two-fold purpose. One purpose was to venerate all of the saints and martyrs on this special feast. There simply were not enough days in the calendar year to honor all of the women and men who had been canonized saints by the Catholic Church. The church also recognized that throughout the centuries, there also were many other holy women and men who had not formally been named a saint. Thus, the Feast of All Saints was instituted as a feast day that was inclusive of all the saints, named and unnamed.
The Gospel chosen for this feast day is the Beatitudes. How very appropriate. Matthew writes: “When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain.” As always, Jesus’ disciples followed him. Jesus then began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God!” Then he continued on naming the other seven Beatitudes.
The Beatitudes truly are “be” attitudes. On this Feast of All Saints, may we remember and give thanks for the many individuals in our lives who daily lived out the Beatitudes. These men and women (the saints named and unnamed) incorporated in their daily lives this teaching of Jesus. Ask yourself: Who do you know who truly lives out these be-attitudes? Do you consciously strive to live and embody the Beatitudes in your daily life?
Today I invite you to choose one “be-attitude” to consciously embody today. At the end of today, take some time and reflect on your day. Was this day different from an ordinary day? What did you notice? Who did you notice? Did you sense Jesus’ presence with you at times?
These “be-attitudes” have the potential to change our lives and hearts if we strive to embody them every day of our lives. Are we willing to give ourselves to this endeavor? If we do so, we also will impact our world just as the Saints did! And to our surprise, we may be transformed as we daily strive to live the “be-attitudes!”