Feast of All Saints reminds us that eternity is our destiny

Feast of All Saints reminds us that eternity is our destinyToday's Feast of All Saints "helps us to reflect on the double horizon of humanity, which we symbolically express with the words 'earth' and 'heaven': the earth represents the journey of history, heaven eternity," and the saints, "known only to God", remind us that we are called to holiness, that is the eternal life in the glory of the Lord, said Benedict XVI as he spoke about the meaning of today's Solemnity in his address to the 30,000 people who had gathered in St Peter's Square to hear the Angelus.

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Today's feast day, in the pope's words, "helps us to think about the Church in its dual dimension: the Church journeying in time and the Church that celebrates the never-ending feast, the Heavenly Jerusalem. These two dimensions are united by the reality of the 'communion of saints': a reality that begins here on earth and that reaches its fulfillment in heaven."

"On earth, the Church is the beginning of this mystery of communion that unites humanity, a mystery totally centred on Jesus Christ. It is He who introduced this new dynamic to mankind, a movement that leads towards God and at the same time towards unity, towards peace in its deepest sense. Jesus Christ, says the Gospel of John (11:52), died 'to gather into one the dispersed children of God,' and this work continues in the Church which is inseparably 'one', 'holy' and 'catholic'. Being a Christian, being part of the Church means being open to this communion, like a seed that unfolds in the ground, dying, and sprouts upwards, toward heaven."

"The Saints-those which the Church proclaims as such, but also all those saints known only to God and whom we also celebrate today-have lived this dynamic intensely. In each of them, in a very personal way, Christ was present, thanks to his Spirit, which acts through the Word and the Sacraments. In fact, being united to Christ, in the Church, does not negate one's personality, but opens it, transforms it with the power of love, and confers on it, already here on earth, an eternal dimension."

"But this insertion in Christ also opens us, as we have said, to communion with all the other members of his Mystical Body which is the Church, a communion that is perfect in 'Heaven', where there is no isolation, no competition or separation. In today's feast, we look forward to the beauty of this life fully open to the gaze of love of God and neighbour, in which we are sure to reach God and one another in God .With this hope-filled faith we honour all the saints, and we prepare to commemorate tomorrow the faithful departed. In the saints we see the victory of love over selfishness and death: we see that following Christ leads to life, eternal life, and gives meaning to the present, every moment that passes, because it is filled with love and hope. Only faith in eternal life makes us truly love history and the present, but without attachment, with the freedom of the pilgrim, who loves the earth because his heart is in Heaven."

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