Thursday, November 1, 2007

Sermon of Fr. Gerard for The Feast of All Saints

Today is the Feast of All Saints. In celebrating this Holy Day of obligation, we honor all those saints in heaven, those who are canonized who are in great number and those who are not canonized with our Lord, nonetheless, probably the greater number and by this celebration, which is a holy day of obligation, the Church wishes us to honor all of these saints and by this one celebration to supply for any insufficiency in our veneration of the saints throughout the year.

This feast has it's origin in the dedication of the Church of St. Mary ad Martyres, that is the building in Rome that was built as a pagan temple to all the gods. After the Christian religion was tolerated in the Roman Empire and later became the state religion, many of the pagan monuments were either modified or used as churches and in this case, the Pantheon, which was a temple to all the gods of the pagan Romans was changed into a temple in honor of Almighty God under the invocation of Our Lady and of all the martyrs. In the early history of the Church, the martyrs were the only ones that were recognized as saints and invoked as saints. After the ages of persecution passed, the Church began to recognize those individuals who led examplary lives, holy lives, to whose intercession God granted the working of miracles as a proof of their holiness and their friendship with Him. Then were introduced the feasts of the confessors who are holy ones that the Church canonizes who were not martyrs and the virgins, and the holy women, that is those who were not virgins or married, who again, satisfied the conditions of the Church for being honored as saints. And so on this day as we honor all the saints in heaven let us ask through their intercession that we may one day be among their number.

The mystical body of Christ is composed of three parts: the Church triumphant, which we celebrate today, the Church suffering, the souls in purgatory, whom we commemorate tomorrow and, according to the decree of Pope Benedict XV, each priest is allowed to offer three masses on All Souls Day for the relief of the suffering souls in purgatory. And then there is ourselves, the members of the Church militant. We benefit by the intercession of the saints on our behalf, we help the souls in purgatory, by our prayers, by our sufferages, such as the Toties Quoties indulgence which can be gained this day and tomorrow and then, of course, the Church militant assists us and the souls in purgatory. While you pray for the souls in purgatory you can also ask their intercession for you, they are most grateful for the relief, which they recieve, and they can intercede with Almighty God on our behalf although we cannot do anything to lessen their sufferings.

One day, at the end of the world, the world will no longer be the Church militant or the Church suffering. All those who have saved their souls will be in the Church triumphant and it will be a perpetual feast of all the saints in the glory of Almighty God in heaven.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

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