Solemnity of All Saints invites us to remember and to be a holy light to others
by Sister Francis Bangert
The feast of All Saints is one of my favorite feasts. It offers a message of hope, joy and love that triumphs over evil. In the Book of Revelation, we hear a vision of hope to Christians who are experiencing persecution for their belief in the Risen Jesus.
The letter of John describes the depth and richness of God’s all-encompassing love calling us children of God who one day will see God as God is.
The Gospel of Matthew describes the Beatitudes as the path to holiness.
Each year the Church celebrates this feast, calling to mind the lives of women and men of every time and place who have been a light in the darkness. By the grace of God they have been victorious over the human tendencies to self-centeredness, greed, power and pleasure and have shown the world around them what it means to be a messenger of Gospel values. But to be a voice for peace and truth, justice and love didn’t come without a price. Conflict, dissension, suffering, persecution even martyrdom were endured because their steadfast faith in the passionate love of God was stronger than the darkness.
Through Baptism we too, are called to be lights in the world in which we live. As Pope Francis writes: “the ingredients for a happy life are found in the Beatitudes: blessed are the simple, the humble who make room for God, who are able to weep for others and for their own mistakes, who remain meek, fight for justice, are merciful to all, safeguard purity of heart, always work for peace and abide in joy, do not hate and even when suffering respond to evil with good.” (Give Us This Day, Nov. 1, 2020, p.23)
In union with all the saints, the “capital S” Saints in heaven, and the “small s” saints who walk this earth, may our individual lights blend into harmonious praise of our God who is the Highest Good.
- Who is your patron or favorite saint? Explore his/her biography.
- How will you let YOUR light shine this week?
Sr. Fran! Your words ring so true! Thank you for writing them! You have been on my mind, as the memory of our first connection stirs in my heart. It was an inquiry into the Associates, of which you were the Director at the time. It was the early '80's. I had recently 'discovered' the Third Order, or lay Franciscans, still 'alive,' but one might say, 'dying off,' @ St. Mary of the Angels. Our spiritual director was Fr. Dacian Bluma, ofm, and he, and Mary McDonald, Director of Formation, were graciously receptive to my contemplative and creative disposition, as well as my keen concern and interest in the state of the world, and in particularly of the United States' involvement, which did not always reflect the gospel values of which you - and the Beatitudes - speak.
I am so grateful to hear from you! And Sr. Rose, too! Who Fr. Dacian had invited to speak at one of our Third Sunday gatherings! I have been thinking of both of you! And all of you!
Joan Schaupp, whose book, "Woman: Image of the Holy Spirit," copyright, 1975, has recently been re-published, and has copies available @ UW-GB Mauthe (Ecumenical) Center, where Sr. Laura works, was pursuing Franciscan spirituality through the Third (lay) Order, at that same time!
There is "something" very wonder-full happening through all these marvel-ous connections, at this particular time, when we, our country, and our world, are so much in need of the Beatitudes! I am considering this a holy - and healing - work-of-Spirit. :)
The Oblates of Mary Immaculate, whose charism is in ministering with the poor, staffed St. John the Baptist Parish, Howard, at that time, where the Sisters of Bay Settlement also served. With the charism of the Oblates and Franciscans at-work in our community, it was a match made in heaven for me! So much so, that with the departure of both religious communities from St. John's and the Howard community, "something" of the Beatitudes was lost, too.
It has taken me a long time, and many life struggles and hurts, to come to realize how hungry - and thirsty - I am for the lived reality of the Beatitudes, here-and-now, among us.
In fact, a recent post from Progressive Christianity quoted the Talmud: "Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly NOW. Love mercy NOW. Walk humbly NOW. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it," speaks of this same beatitudinal essence. It's sort of like saying, "Even when -- or especially when -- we feel overwhelming forces of darkness are crushing us -- continue to put one foot in front of the other, and walk that Way-of-the-Cross with JESUS, as most assuredly he -- and all the saints, and angles -- are walking it with us."
All the while, repeating from within your deepest and truest self, as GOD-knows-you, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” – Jn. 1:5.