Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints; a day when the Church honors all the canonized saints and those who are in heaven, but not formally recognized. Many of the canonized saints in the Church have feast days throughout the liturgical year already, but All Saint’s Day was instituted to make up for any omissions. The martyrs who died for their faith are also honored on this day.
In the book of Revelation St. John witnesses a multitude of saints in his heavenly vision. He describes the following: “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb’!” (Revelation 7: 9-10) St. John was given the great privilege of seeing the saints in heaven who had prayed and believed in God during their lifetimes and who had reaped the rewards of their labors. In his Gospel, John expresses that, “this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” (John 17: 3)
St. Therese, who Pope St. Pius X called the ‘greatest saint of modern times’, describes a dream that she had when she was suffering her trial of faith where several souls from heaven visited her and informed her that she was very pleasing to Jesus and that she would soon be joining them in heaven. She writes that, “O Jesus, the storm was no longer raging, heaven was calm and serene. I believed, I felt there was a heaven and that this heaven is peopled with souls who actually love me, who consider me their child.” (Story of A Soul, pp. 191) These blessed souls were her friends in Christ who she would soon see in heaven.
As Therese came to realize, the saints in heaven and holy people still on earth are constantly praying for the good of the entire world. She writes that, “all the saints have understood this, and more especially those who filled the world with the light of the Gospel teachings. Was it not in prayer that St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. John of the Cross, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis, St. Dominic, and so many other famous Friends of God have drawn out this divine science which delights the greatest geniuses? A scholar has said: ‘Give me a lever and a fulcrum and I will lift the world.’ What Archimedes was not able to obtain, for his request was not directed by God and was only made from a material viewpoint, the saints have obtained in all its fullness. The Almighty has given them as fulcrum: HIMSELF ALONE; as lever PRAYER which burns with a fire of love. And it is in this way that they have lifted the world; it is in this way that the saints still militant lift it, and that, until the end of time, the saints to come will lift it.” (Story of A Soul, pp. 258)
We can all be encouraged that our friends in heaven, the saints, love us and will always be praying for our well-being, protection, and growth in virtue. We honor all the saints, including our beloved Therese, on this All Saint’s day!