Address Before Angelus on All Saints´ Day

Holiness Goes Against the Current, John Paul II Says

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 4, 2001 ( Here is a translation of John Paul II´s address before the Angelus on Thursday, the feast of All Saints.

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Dearest Brothers and Sisters!

1. Today we celebrate the solemnity of All Saints. In the light of God we remember all those who witnessed to Christ during their earthly life, who were determined to put his teachings into practice. We rejoice with these brothers and sisters of ours who have preceded us, journeying on our same path and who now enjoy their merited reward in the glory of heaven.

These are they who, according to the expression of the Apocalypse, «have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb» (Revelation 7:14). They went against the current, accepting the Sermon on the Mount as the inspirational norm of their life: poverty of spirit and simplicity of life; meekness, not violence; repentance for their own sins and expiation for those of others; hunger and thirst for justice; mercy and compassion; purity of heart; commitment to peace; and sacrifice for justice (see Matthew 5:3-10).

Every Christian is called to holiness, namely, to live the beatitudes. The Church points out, as an example for all, the brothers and sisters who have been outstanding in virtues and instruments of divine grace. Today we celebrate all of them together, so that, with their help, we will grow in the love of God and be «salt of the earth and light of the world» (Matthew 5:13-14).

2. The Communion of Saints goes beyond the threshold of death. It is a communion that is centered on God, the God of the living (see Matthew 22:32). In the Book of the Apocalypse we read: «Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord» (Revelation 14:13). Specifically, the feast of All Saints illuminates the meaning of the commemoration of All Souls, which we celebrate tomorrow. This is a day of prayer and profound reflection on the mystery of life and death. «God did not make death» — the Scriptures affirm — «for he fashioned all things that they might have being» (Wisdom 1:13-14). «By the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who are in his possession experience it» (Wisdom 2:24).

The Gospel reveals how Jesus Christ had absolute power over physical death, which he regards as falling asleep (see Matthew 9:24-25; Luke 7:14-15; John 11:11). Jesus says that we must fear another death: that of the soul, which because of sin loses the divine life of grace, remaining forever excluded from life and happiness.

3. On the contrary, God wishes all men to be saved (see 1 Timothy 2:4). This is why he sent his Son on earth (see John 3:16), so that all men would have life «in abundance» (see John 10:10). The heavenly Father is not resigned to lose a single one of his children; rather he wants all to be with him, holy and immaculate in love (see Ephesians 1:4).

Holy and immaculate as the Virgin Mary, eminent model of the new humanity. Her happiness is full, in the glory of God. In her shines the end to which we all tend. We will entrust our deceased brothers to her, in the hope of meeting them in the Father´s house.

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father said the following:]

This afternoon I will go down to the Vatican crypt to pray before the tombs of my predecessors, who are buried there. I will go spiritually on pilgrimage to all the cemeteries of the world, where those rest who preceded us in the sign of faith and await the Day of Resurrection.

In particular, I will pray for the eternal repose of the numerous victims of violence, especially of these recent times, and I will also remember, in a special way, all those who sacrificed their lives to remain faithful to Christ to the end. To my prayer for them I add an invocation to the Lord so that he will grant consolation and relief to all those who suffer because of the tragic death of loved ones. May God´s blessing be upon all.

[Original language: Italian; translation by ZENIT]

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