03 November 2006

On the Saints

Below are a few quotes from the Holy Father's homily given during the Mass for the Solemnity of All Saints.

The saints are not a restricted caste of elect but a crowd without number toward which, today, the liturgy exhorts us to lift our eyes.

Many there are whose faces and names we do not know but with the eyes of faith we see them shine like stars full of glory in the divine firmament.

Gazing upon the luminious examples of the saints the great desire to be like the saints is awakened in us; happy to live near God, in his light, int he great family of the friends of God. Being a saint means living close to God, living in his family. And this is the vocation of all of us, vigorously reaffired by the Second Vatican Council, and on this day brought to our attention in a solemn way. But how can we become saints, friends of God? An initial response to this question is this: To be saints it is not necessary to perform extraordinary deeds and works, nor is it necessary to possess exceptional charisms. But this only tells us what sainthood is not. The positive answer it that to become a saint it is above all necessary to listen to Jesus and then to follow him and not lost heart in the face of difficulties.

The example of the saints encourages us to follow in their footsteps, to experience the joy of those who entrust themselves to God, because the only cause of sadness is to live far from him.

Holiness demands a constant effort but it is possible for all since it is not just the work of man but is above all a gift of God, who is thrice holy (cf. Isaiah 6:3).

In our life all is a gift of his love. How is it possible to remain indifferent before so great a mystery? How is it possible to not respond to the love of the heavenly Father by leading a life of grateful children?

Thus, the more we imitate Christ and remain united to him, the more we enter into the mystery of divine holiness.

In the measure that we accept his proposal and follow him - everyone according to his own circumstances - we too can participate in his beatitude.
And one quote from his Angelus Address:

"Eternal life," however, does not mean for us Christians simply a life that lasts forever, but rather a new quality of existence fully immersed in God's love, which frees us from evil and death and which puts us in everlasting communion with all the brothers and sisters who share in the same love.

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