The Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace at midday today to pray the Angelus on November 1 with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square on the solemnity of All Saints. “Today, we feel the reality of the communion of saints to be particularly alive – our great family, made up of all the members of the Church, both those of us who are still pilgrims on earth, and those – far more in number – who have already left and gone on to Heaven”.
Francis recalled the characteristics of the saints, as they are presented in the Book of Revelation. “They are people who belong totally to God, … a multitude of the ‘chosen’ clothed in white and marked with the ‘seal of God’”, and explained the meaning of bearing this seal – that “in Jesus Christ we have truly become children of God”. He asked, “Are we aware of this great gift? We are all children of God! Do we remember that in Baptism we have received the ‘seal’ of our Heavenly Father and became His children?… Here is the root of the vocation to holiness. The saints we remember today are indeed those who lived in the grace of their Baptism, who kept the ‘seal’ intact, behaving as children of God, seeking to imitate Jesus; and now they have reached their goal because they finally ‘see God as he really is’”.
Their second characteristic is that they are “examples to imitate. … Not only those who are canonized, but, so to speak, the saints ‘next door’ who, with the grace of God, made the effort to practice the Gospel in the ordinariness of their life. … To imitate their gestures of love and mercy is rather like perpetuating their presence in this world. Indeed, those evangelical gestures are the only ones that resist the destruction of death: an act of tenderness, a generous help, time spent listening, a visit, a good word, a smile. … To our eyes these gestures might seem insignificant, but in God’s eyes they are eternal, because love and compassion are stronger than death”.