Saturday, November 1, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: All Saints' Day

MP: Psalms 111, 112: Esdras 2:42-47; Hebrews 11:32-12:2
EP: Psalms 148, 150; Wisdom 5:1-5,14-16; Revelation 21:1-4,2-22:5

All Saints' Day is an ancient holiday, which Lesser Feasts and Fasts tells us reaches back to at least 800 AD, if not before. LFF provides us with a nifty explanation of this Feast Day saying that the root of All Saints' Day resides in the desire of Christian people to express the intercommunion of the living and the dead in the Body of Christ by a commemoration of those who, having professed faith in the living Christ in the days past, had entered into the nearer presence of their Lord.... Wow... A lawyer had to have written that. But it does match closely the ideas expressed in our MP reading from Hebrews today: Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us....

We want to know and be comforted with the knowledge that those who have gone before us, who have run that race with perseverance, are not only with God, nearer to God than we are, but also surround us and provide us strength in times of weakness. It is not only us who want this reassurance, but for the past sixteen hundred years people have been yearning to have this comfort. 

I think it is part of our human nature to want to know these things, to know that there is something more than just here and now. Our belief in the Incarnate One helps us with that knowledge. This Feast Day also assists with this. Think on all those people who have been involved in your life who are now part of that great cloud of witnesses circling around us, holding us up. Remembering them in our prayers today brings them closer to us, because in remembering, they are made more real to us. We are not alone, ever. That isn't some cheap X-Files reference, but a fact of our faith. We are never alone.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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