This week we celebrate two holy days. Friday, November 1st, All Saints Day is a holyday of obligation. Saturday, November 2nd, All Souls Day is not but is still important to think about.
For all of us All Saints Day should raise some serious questions. We were created to become saints, to serve God and give Him glory. We are supposed to bring His love to a world that is hurting. People should see Jesus in us. That is the purpose of all of us. So we all have to ask ourselves some questions:
How well am I doing? Does my life give glory to God? Am I serving Him? Am I living for Him or for myself? Am I living the life I was created for? Do people see God’s love in me? Do they see Jesus in me?
God’s greatest desire for us is that we become saints and spend eternity with Him in heaven. We may not become famous or beatified but we are all called to sanctity. We should really think about and try to examine our lives in terms of eternity.
Was I created to be like every other American, watching the same shows, living the same lifestyles, having the same opinions? Or was I created to be different, to draw people away from the sleaze, greed, self-centeredness and prejudice that seems so much a part of modern life? Am I not supposed to show people that we were created for better than this; that God wants better for us than the world we live in?
We are so caught up in the world, trying to fit in with every body else, to have the latest device, to know the latest gossip, that too often we are living by the standards of the world. Surveys show little difference between the attitudes of Catholics and non-Catholics. How can this be? Anyone can see that we live in a cesspool. Look at how TV has changed since the 1960’s. The rest of society isn’t any better. Is this really what we want or God wants?
We were created for something better! Becoming a saint is something we need to work at. We have to look critically at the things of the world and judge whether something is the best use we could make of our time or resources.
Is this TV show or game really worth it? Will it help or hinder me on my path to heaven? Will it draw me closer to God or my family? Will it help me or someone else in some way?
We were created for better than this. We were created to be God’s hands and feet, to bring His love to a world that is desperately hurting. We can’t live by the standards of the world. It isn’t just that “it’s against Gods’ law” — though it is – but look at how much pain has been the result. We are surrounded by people who have been hurt because they’ve fallen for the lies: anything goes, if it feels good do it, religion is old-fashioned and out of touch, greed is good, look out for number one, and so on. Look at the society these attitudes have created. We live in a society of angry hurting people. Did we used to see something called “road rage”? Did we used to see marriages falling apart at such a rate? Women and children are hurt tremendously by divorce or abuse. Abortion continues, pornography grows, and sexually transmitted diseases continue to spread? Seeing all this hurt and damage, why would we want to embrace the standards of this world?
We were created for something better! We aren’t going to become saints by going along with the standards of society. We need to live by God’s standards, to make pleasing Him our goal. So let’s question ourselves:
Do I actively seek to grow in holiness? Am I seizing every opportunity for grace? A I taking advantage of the graces available to me in the Sacraments, especially Reconciliation.
Think about it. All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation. Do I know what Mass I am attending? Or will I brush off this Mass because it is on a weekday and blithely go to Mass on Sunday and partake of Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin? Yes, missing Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation is a mortal sin unless you absolutely cannot get to Mass. Yes, it is “against the grain” of our culture to have “holy obligations.” Yes, it makes us different from the world. That is the point!
We must pray for the grace to see and judge things rightly. Pray for the strength and endurance to resist temptation. Pray for the grace to love all our neighbors as ourselves. Pray for the grace to grow more and more like Jesus, to be more patient and loving, more humble and compassionate, more generous and wiser. Pray for the grace to be open to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Pray to become saints!
Maybe we haven’t done that well. That can be scary but All Souls Days reminds us that there is hope for us in purgatory. On All Souls Day we pray for the souls of those we knew who have died. Hopefully, some day people will be praying for us.
What also can be comforting would be the Divine Mercy message given to us by Jesus through the secretary of Divine Mercy, St. Faustina, a little known, barely educated nun in Poland during the 1930’s.
St. Faustina was to tell the whole world about His mercy. We are called to turn to His mercy and trust in His mercy. Repeatedly He promises that even the greatest sinner could be saved if they trust in His mercy. All we have to do is turn to Him and trust in His mercy. The message of Divine Mercy is a message of great grace. No one is exempt from His love or mercy.
In Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska Jesus told Faustina to write” Tell the world about My mercy and My love. The flames of mercy are burning Me. I desire to pour them out upon human souls. Oh, what pain they cause Me when they do not want to accept them…Tell (all people), My daughter, that I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls.” (1074)
Later she writes “My dearest secretary, write that I want to pour out My Divine life into human souls and sanctify them, if only they were willing to accept My grace. The greatest sinner would achieve great sanctity, if only they would trust in My mercy. The very inner depths of My being are filled to overflowing with mercy, and it is being poured out upon all I have created. My delight is to act in a human soul and to fill it with My mercy…” (1784)
Jesus also said “The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy…He who trusts in My mercy will not perish, for all his affairs are Mine…(723) Encourage souls to place great trust in my fathomless mercy. Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the unmeasurable depths of My Mercy.(1059) “The soul that trusts in My mercy is most fortunate, because I Myself take care of it.”(1273) “Whoever places his trust in My mercy will be filled with my divine peace at the hour of death.”(1520)
Elsewhere in the Diary of St. Faustina (1485), Jesus is quoted as saying “Be not afraid of your Savior, O sinful Soul…be willing to talk openly with your God of mercy who wants to speak words of pardon and lavish His graces on you. How dear your soul is to Me! I have inscribed your name upon my hand; you are engraved as a deep wound in My Heart.”
A little further in the Diary He says “My Child, Do you fear the God of Mercy? My holiness does not prevent Me from being merciful….You can come to me at any moment, at any time; I want to speak to you and grant you grace. My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. Who can measure the extent of my goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed myself to be nailed to the cross; for you I let my Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come, then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart.”
These are Jesus’ words. “I will never reject a contrite heart.” Never! He will never reject a contrite heart.
Jesus didn’t suffer and die for nothing. When we die we face the God of Mercy Jesus told us that God’s greatest attribute is mercy not justice. His desire is that all be saved. No one is left out of his mercy. If one is alive then it is not too late. All one has to do is repent and confess your sins.
This All Souls Day we remember and pray for our loved ones who have passed away and are probably in Purgatory which is part of God’s Mercy. How wonderful it is that we can help our loved ones with our prayers. We should definitely pray for them but also be comforted by the fact that when they died they faced the God of Divine Mercy. Take comfort also that someday we too will face His Divine Mercy.
Part of this was originally published on Catholic Lane.