Today we commemorate all the Saints – the heroic women and men who followed Christ faithfully during their lifetimes and who are now with God in Heaven. We ask all the Saints to intercede for us, so that we also will achieve sanctity and reach the goal of our existence.
The veneration of the Saints began with the death of the first martyrs of the Christian era. The cult of the Martyrs in later centuries incorporated also the cult of the Apostles, Bishops and ascetics, and religious of both sexes. Emperor Constantine the Great (+337) built a Church in Cnstantinople in memory of the Twelve Apostles.
Before long, the cult of the New Testament Saints was extended to include that of the Old Testament Saints. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (+386) in his fifth Mystagogical Catechesis attests that during the Divine Liturgy after the consecration “we commemorate those who have fallen asleep before us, first, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, so that through their prayers and intercession, God may receive our petition. Afterwards, we commemorate the Holy Fathers and bishops who have fallen asleep before us….” Some of these Saints also have a special day of their own dedicated to them during the year.
Our Church Calendar dedicates days in the year to one or more Saints or Classes of Saints. There are multitudes of Saints in Heaven whose names are not recorded in the Church Calendar and whose names are unknown to the world even though they are forever inscribed in the Book of Life. Therefore,it is the wish of Holy Church that fitting honor be paid to both the known and unknown Saints in Heaven. The first class of Saints to be so honored are the Holy Martyrs. The feast of All Martyrs was kept in the Greek Church during the time of St. John Chrysostom (+407). A eulogy in their honor delivered by him on the first Sunday after Pentecost remains extant. “Seven days had not passed,” he says, ” since we celebrated the holy feast of Pentecost, and once again the choir of martyrs received us, the faithful warriors and army, who do not yield to the army of angels, whom Jacob had seen, but are equally zealous and equal to them.”
The earliest Syrian calendar (411) commemorates all martyrs on the Friday after the feast of the Resurrection. The Calendar of the Chaldean Catholics and Syrian Nestorians on that same day commemorates All Confessors. In the fourth century in Edessa, (modern Turkey), the feast of All Martyrs was celebrated on the 13th of May. St. Ephrem the Syrian (+373) composed a special hymn for this day in honor of the Martyrs.
The Western Church keeps the feast of All Saints on the first of November. In the West as we all as in the East, the feast of all Martyrs was first to be observed and it was kept at different times by the Latin Churches in various countries. St. Maxim of Turin (5c) has left a sermon in honor of All Martyrs that was delivered on the first Sunday after Pentecost. In 609 or 610 Pope Boniface IV received the Roman Pantheon from Emperor Phocas and dedicated it to the most Pure Virgin Mary and the martyrs on the 13th of May. From that time on, the anniversary of this deication was celebrated annually with great solemnity. Some believe this marks the origin of the feast of All Saints.
Pope Gregory III (731-741) dedicated a chapel in the Basilica of St. Peter in honor of All Saints. The date of this dedication is unknown, but it is known that from that time on, certain countries began to celebrate the Feast of All Saints on the first day of November. Sometime in the ninth or tenth century, the West began to celebrate the first of November as the Feast of All Saints universally. Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) finally transferred the Feast of All Saints to the first of November.
The Blessed Mother, Queen of All Saints
Passages from the Book of Heaven
The Call of the Creature to the Order, the Place and the Purpose
for which He was Created by God
Our Lord Jesus Christ
To the Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta the Little Daughter of the Divine Will:
Volume 10 – October 17, 1911
It seems that my most sweet Jesus came for a little longer than usual. It seemed He was wearing the crown of thorns, and I, removing it from Him, drove it into my head; but after a little while, in looking at Jesus, I saw Him crowned with thorns again. And Jesus: “See my daughter, how they offend Me: you removed one from Me, and they have woven another. They never leave Me free – they weave Me crowns of thorns continuously.”
And I removed it again from Him, and Jesus, pleased, drew near my mouth and poured a little bit of a most sweet liquor. And I: :Jesus, what are You doing? You are full of bitternesses, and You pour sweetnesses into me? This is not appropriate.”
And Jesus: “Let Me do it – you too needed to be cheered. Even more, I want you to take some rest inside My Heart.”
Oh! How comfortable it was! Then He put me out, and I: ‘Why did You put me out? I was so comfortable in your Heart – how beautiful It was!’
And Jesus: “When I keep you inside of Me I alone enjoy you; when I put you out everyone enjoys you, and you can take the defense of your brothers, you can plead for them, you can have them spared; so much so, that the Saints say that I (Jesus) content you (Luisa) more than them, and that I take more taste from your love than from theirs. And I say to them that I do this with love and with justice, because with you I can share My pains, but not with them. Since you (Luisa) are a pilgrim soul, you can take the pains of others as well as Mine (Jesus) upon yourself, and by this you have the strength to disarm Me – unless I did not want to, like last night, when I bound your arms very tightly so that you might not oppose My Will. But they no longer have these weapons in their power, so much so, that if I have to chastise, I hide from you who can come up with something – but not from them.”
And I: ‘Certainly, certainly, O Jesus, You must take more contentment from my love than from theirs, because theirs is the love of the Blessed – they see You, they enjoy You continuously, and are absorbed within Your Most Holy and Divine Will. They are completely dissolved in You; how great can their love really be, since they receive continuous life from You… But I, poor one – Your privations alone give me continuous death.’
And Jesus: “Poor daughter of Mine, you are right.”
Volume 12 – April 15, 1919
. . . Now, My Resurrection is the symbol of the souls who will form their Sanctity in My Will. The Saints of the past centuries symbolize my Humanity. Although resigned, they did not have continuous act in My Will; therefore, they did not receive the mark of the Sun of My Resurrection, but the mark of the works of My Humanity before My Resurrection. Therefore, they will be many; almost like stars, they will form a beautiful ornament to the Heaven of my Humanity. But the Saints of the living in My Will, who will symbolize my Resurrected Humanity, will be few. In fact, many throngs and crowds of people saw My Humanity, but few saw My Resurrected Humanity – only the believers, those who were most disposed, and, I could say, only those who contained the seed of My Will. In fact, if they did not have that seed, they would have lacked the necessary sight to be able to see My Resurrected and glorious Humanity, and therefore be spectators of My ascent into Heaven.
Now, if My Resurrection symbolizes the Saints of the living in My Will – and this with reason, since each act, word, step, etc. done in My Will is a Divine resurrection that the soul receives; it is a mark of glory that she receives; it is to go out of herself in order to enter the Divinity, and to love, work and think, hiding herself in the refulgent Sun of My Volition – what is the wonder, if the soul remains fully risen and identified with the very Sun of My Glory, and symbolizes My Resurrected Humanity? But few are those who dispose themselves to this, because even in sanctity, souls want something for their own good; while the Sanctity of living in My Will has nothing of its own – everything is of God. It takes too much for souls to dispose themselves to this – to strip themselves of their own goods. Therefore, they will not be many.
You (Luisa) are not in the number of the many, but of the few. Therefore, be always attentive to the call, and to your continuous flight.”
Volume 14 – October 6, 1922
. . . And Jesus: “Listen, My daughter (Luisa), My Wisdom has means and ways which man ignores, such that he is obliged to lower his forehead and adore It in mute silence; and it is not up to him to dictate the laws to Me (God): whom I should choose and the appropriate time – which My Goodness disposes. Besides, first I had to form the Saints, who were to resemble Me and copy my Humanity in a more perfect way, as much as is possible for them; and this I have already done. Now My Goodness wants to move further, and wants to give in greater excesses of love; and therefore I (Jesus) want them (souls) to enter into My Humanity and copy what the soul of My Humanity did in the Divine Will. If the first ones cooperated with My Redemption in order to save souls, to teach the Law, to cast away sin, being limited within the centuries in which they lived, the second ones will go beyond, copying what the soul of My Humanity did in the Divine Will. They will embrace all centuries, all creatures, and rising above all, will place in force the rights of Creation which are due to Me, and which concern all creatures, bringing all things to the prime origin of Creation and to the purpose for which Creation was delivered. Everything is ordered in Me: if I delivered Creation, It must return to Me ordered, just as It came out from my hands. . . .
Volume 19 – June 15, 1926
. . . Then, all love, He (Jesus) told me (Luisa): “My daughter (Luisa), I (Jesus) love so much the acts done in My Will, that I Myself take on the commitment to keep them in custody in the unity of My Supreme Light, in such a way as to render them inseparable from Me and from My own acts. If you knew how jealous I am of these acts, how they glorify Me in a wholly Divine way…. It can be said that each of these acts (done in the Divine Will) is a new feast that starts in the whole Creation and in the whole Celestial Fatherland. Flowing in My Will like ray of light, these acts bring new joys, feasts and happinesses wherever My Will is. These acts are the joys, the feast and the happiness that the creature forms in the Will of her Creator. And do you think it is trivial that the creature can form and bring feast, joy and happiness to her Creator and wherever Our Will reigns?
The same happened with my Queen Mama. As She (Blessed Mother, Queen of All Saints) always operated in the Unity of the Light of the Supreme Will, all of Her acts, Her office of Mother, Her rights of Queen remained inseparable from Her Creator; so much so, that when the Divinity unleashes the acts of beatitude to make the whole Celestial Fatherland happy, It unleashes with them all the acts of the Celestial Mama. So, all the Saints feel invested, not only with Our (God’s) joys and beatitudes, but also with the maternal love of their Mother (Blessed Mother), with the glory of their Queen, and with all of Her acts converted into joys for the whole Celestial Jerusalem. Every fiber of Her maternal Heart loves all the children of the Celestial Fatherland with love of Mother, and She shares Her joys of Mother and Her glory of Queen with everyone. So, on earth She was Mother of love and of sorrow for Her children, who cost Her so much, as much as the Life of Her Son God, and by virtue of the unity of the light of the Supreme Will which She possessed, Her acts remained inseparable from Ours; while in Heaven She is Mother of love, of joys and of glory for all of Her celestial children; so, all the Saints have greater love, more glory and more joys, by virtue of their Mother and Sovereign Queen. Therefore, I love so much one who lives in My Will, that I lower Myself to her, to do what she does together with her, to raise her up to the bosom of the Eternal One, to render her act one with her Creator.” . . .