St. Peter's Square
Thursday, 1 November 2018
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and happy party!
The first reading of today, from the Book of the Apocalypse, speaks to us of heaven and places us before "an immense multitude", incalculable, "of every nation, tribe, people and language" (Rev 7: 9). They are the saints. What do they do "up there"? They sing together, they praise God with joy. It would be nice to listen to their song ... But we can imagine it: do you know when? During Mass, when we sing "Holy, holy, holy the Lord God of the universe ...". It is a hymn - says the Bible - that comes from heaven, which is sung there (cf. Is 6,3, Ap 4,8), a hymn of praise. Then, singing the "Saint", we not only think of the saints, but we do what they do: at that moment, in the Mass, we are united with them more than ever.
And we are united to all the saints: not only to the best known, of the calendar, but also to those "of the next door", to our family members and acquaintances who are now part of that immense multitude. Today, then, it is a family party. The saints are close to us, indeed they are our true brothers and sisters. They understand us, they love us, they know what our real good is, they help us and they wait for us. They are happy and they want us happy with them in paradise.
For this reason they invite us to the path of happiness, indicated in today's Gospel, so beautiful and known: "Blessed are the poor in spirit [...] Blessed are the meek [...] Blessed are the pure in heart ..." (cf. Mt 5: 3-8) . But how? The Gospel blesses the poor, while the world blesses the rich. The Gospel blesses the myths, while the world says blessed the arrogant. The Gospel says the pure blessed, while the world says blessed the wise and joyful. This path of bliss, of holiness, seems to lead to defeat. And yet - the first reading reminds us again - the saints keep "palm branches in their hands" (verse 9), that is, the symbols of victory. They have won them, not the world. And they exhort us to choose their part, that of God who is Holy.
Let us ask ourselves what side we are on: that of heaven or that of the earth? Do we live for the Lord or for ourselves, for eternal happiness or for some fulfillment now? Let us ask ourselves: do we really want holiness? Or do we content ourselves with being Christians without infamy and without praise, who believe in God and esteem others but without exaggerating? The Lord "asks for everything, and what he offers is true life - he offers everything - the happiness for which we have been created" (Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete and exsultate, 1). In short, or holiness or nothing! It is good for us to let ourselves be provoked by the saints, who have not had half measures here and from there "cheer" for us, because we choose God, humility, meekness, mercy, purity, because we are passionate about heaven rather than the earth .
Today our brothers and sisters do not ask us to hear a beautiful Gospel again, but to put it into practice, to set out on the path of the Beatitudes. It is not about doing extraordinary things, but about following every day this way that takes us to heaven, takes us into the family, takes us home. So today we glimpse our future and celebrate what we were born for: we were born to never die again, we were born to enjoy the happiness of God! The Lord encourages us and whoever takes the path of the Beatitudes says: "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven" (Mt 5:12). May the Holy Mother of God, Queen of the saints, help us to firmly walk the path of holiness; you, who is the Gate of Heaven, introduce our beloved dead into the heavenly family.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
I greet with affection all of you, pilgrims from Italy and various countries, families, parish groups, associations and school groups.
I address a special greeting to the participants of the Corsa dei Santi, promoted by the "Missioni Don Bosco" Foundation to live the anniversary of All Saints in a popular party. Thank you for your wonderful initiative and for your presence!
Tomorrow afternoon I will go to the Laurentino Cemetery in Rome: I invite you to accompany me with the prayer on this day of suffrage for those who have preceded us in the sign of faith and sleep the sleep of peace.
I wish you all a happy feast in the spiritual company of the Saints. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!
FULL TEXT SHARE from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation