We Are All Going to Another Life

VATICAN CITY (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI on the feast of All Saints, in St. Peter’s Square.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

The Solemnity of All Saints is a propitious occasion to lift our gaze from earthly realities marked by time, to the dimension of God, the dimension of eternity and of sanctity. The liturgy reminds us today that sanctity is the original vocation of every baptized person (cf. Lumen Gentium, 40). Christ, in fact, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit is the only Holy One (cf. Revelation 15:4) loved the Church as his Bride and gave himself for her, in order to sanctify her (cf. Ephesians 5:25-26). Because of this, all the members of the People of God are called to become saints, in keeping with the Apostle Paul’s affirmation: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). We are invited to consider the Church not only in her temporal and human aspect, marked by fragility, but as Christ wished her to be, that is “the communion of saints” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 946). In the Creed we profess that the Church is “holy,” holy because she is the Body of Christ, she is the instrument of participation in the Holy Mysteries — in the first place the Eucharist — and the family of the saints, to whose protection we are entrusted on the day of our baptism.

Today we venerate this innumerable community of All the Saints, who, through their diverse life journeys, point out to us different ways of sanctity, gathered under a common denominator: to follow Christ and to conform ourselves in Him up to the last of our human affairs. All the states of life, in fact, can become, with the action of grace and with commitment and perseverance, ways of sanctification.

The commemoration of the deceased faithful, to which tomorrow, Nov. 2, will be dedicated, helps us to remember our dear ones who have left us, and all souls on the way to the fullness of life, on the horizon of the heavenly Church, to which today’s Solemnity has elevated us. From the earliest times of the Christian faith, the earthly Church, acknowledging the communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, has cultivated with great piety the memory of the deceased and has offered prayers for them. Our prayer for the dead is, therefore, not only useful but also necessary, given that it not only can help them, but that at the same time it makes effective their intercession in our favor (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 958). Also the visit to cemeteries, while protecting the bonds of affection with those who have loved us in our life, reminds us that we are all going to another life, beyond death. May tears due to the earthly distancing not prevail over the certainty of the resurrection, over the hope of attaining the blessedness of eternity, “the supreme moment of satisfaction, in which totality embraces us and we embrace totality” (Spe Salvi, 12). The object of our hope is the enjoyment of the presence of God in eternity. Jesus promised it to his disciples, saying: “but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22).

We entrust to the Virgin Mary, Queen of All Saints, our pilgrimage to our heavenly homeland, while we invoke her intercession for our deceased brothers and sisters.

[Translation by ZENIT]

© Copyright 2011 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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