Wednesday, November 01, 2006
All Saint's Day
The Feast of All Saints was originally the feast day in which we remembered the martyrs,
those who suffered terrible pain, torture, and excruciating deaths in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It was a day set apart to remember the martyrs whose names had not been recorded on the martyrologies of the Church and, as a result, could not be remembered on the anniversary of their martyrdom. By the year 373 a special day had been designated to remember all the saints, known and unknown, usually the first Sunday after Pentecost, the day we now celebrate as Trinity Sunday. Later, around the year 609, May 13 was celebrated as All Saints Day, but the date we now celebrate, November 1, was proclaimed by Pope Gregory III in the year 741 when he dedicated at chapel at the Vatican and named it All Saints. So now this major feast day commemorates all the saints, not just martyrs. We often think of the martyrs as those who died back in the first centuries of the Church, but the truth is there are still people being martyred for the faith; in just the last century we have had martyrs in Africa, the Middle East, in parts of the South Pacific and even here in Central America. Christians have been martyred in Iraq, Pakistan, and Nigeria recently. I love the stories of the saints, and here at San Cristóbal we usually celebrate the feast day of a saint at our WednesdayEucharists. I think that it is important for us to remember the Great Cloud of Witnesses which surround us and are examples for us. Saints are examples of what can happen when a person allows God the Holy Spirit to work through them. That is why I love the stories of the saints. I also like the fact that many of the saints had lived less than perfect lives before they decided to repent and follow Jesus; this gives a person like me hope!
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