Pope Francis joined the crowds of pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square for the midday Angelus on November 1, 2019, the Solemnity of All Saints. He reminded those listening that all are called to be saints and that saints are not just distant symbols.
“Today’s Solemnity of All Saints reminds us that we are all called to sanctity,” the Holy Father said. “The men and women Saints of all times, which today we celebrate all together are not simply symbols, distant human beings, unreachable.
“On the contrary, they are persons who lived with their feet on the ground; they experienced the daily toil of existence, with its successes and its failures, finding in the Lord the strength to rise again always and continue on the way. Understood from this is that sanctity is a goal, which cannot be attained only with one’s own strength, but is the fruit of God’s grace and our free answer to it. Hence, sanctity is gift and call.”
Here is a ZENIT translation of the Pope’s address:
* * *
Before the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Today’s Solemnity of All Saints reminds us that we are all called to sanctity. The men and women Saints of all times, which today we celebrate all together are not simply symbols, distant human beings, unreachable. On the contrary, they are persons who lived with their feet on the ground; they experienced the daily toil of existence, with its successes and its failures, finding in the Lord the strength to rise again always and continue on the way. Understood from this is that sanctity is a goal, which cannot be attained only with one’s own strength, but is the fruit of God’s grace and our free answer to it. Hence, sanctity is gift and call.
In as much as grace of God, namely, His gift, it’s something we cannot buy or barter, but receive, thus participating in divine life itself, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us since the day of our Baptism. The seed of sanctity is, precisely, Baptism. We try to mature increasingly the awareness that we are grafted in Christ, as the branch is united to the vine and, therefore, we can and must live with Him and in Him as children of God. Thus sanctity is to live in full communion with God, already now, during this earthly pilgrimage.
However, in addition to gift, sanctity is also a call, it is the common vocation of all of us Christians, of Christ’s disciples; it is the path of fullness that every Christian is called to follow in faith, proceeding to the final goal: definitive communion with God in eternal life. Thus sanctity becomes an answer to God’s gift because it is manifested as an assumption of responsibility. In this perspective, it’s important to assume a daily commitment of sanctification in the conditions, the duties and the circumstances of our life, seeking to live everything with love, with charity.
The Saints, which we celebrate in the liturgy today, are brothers and sisters that admitted in their life their need of this divine light, abandoning themselves to it with trust. And now, before God’s throne (Cf. Revelation 7:15), they sing His glory eternally. They constitute the “Holy City,” to which we look with hope, as our definitive goal, while we are pilgrims in this “earthly city.” We walk towards that “Holy City,” where these holy brothers and sisters await us. It’s true, we are tired from the harshness of the road, but hope gives us the strength to go on. Looking at their life, we are stimulated to imitate them. Among them, there are so many “next door” witnesses, those that live close to us and are a reflection of the presence of God” (Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, 7).
Brothers and sisters, may the remembrance of the Saints induce us to raise our eyes to Heaven, not to forget the realities of earth, but to face them with more courage, with more hope. May Mary, our Most Holy Mother, the sign of consolation and sure hope, accompany us with her maternal intercession.[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet you all affectionately, pilgrims from Italy and from various countries; in particular the youngsters of Catholic Action. They have come with their teachers from so many Italian dioceses, on the 50th anniversary of ACR. One, two, three . . . [the youngsters in the Square intone a song]. I greet the young people of the Deanship of Mauges, France, and the youngsters of Carugate (Milan).
I greet the athletes that took part in the Race of Saints, organized by the “Don Bosco Missions” Foundation, to underscore also, in the dimension of a popular celebration, the religious value of the recurrence of All Saints. I thank you and all those in parishes and communities, promoting in these days initiatives of prayer to celebrate all the Saints and to commemorate the deceased. These two Christian celebrations remind us of the bond that exists between the Church on earth — which we are — and that of Heaven, between us and our dear ones who have passed to the other life.
Tomorrow afternoon I will go to celebrate the Eucharist in the Catacombs of Priscilla, one of the places of burial of the first Christians of Rome. In these days in which, unfortunately, messages are also circulating of a negative culture of death and the dead, I invite you not to neglect, if possible, a visit and a prayer at a cemetery. It will be an act of faith.
And I wish you all a happy feast in the spiritual company of the Saints. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye![Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
© Libreria Editrice Vatican