VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI said that the Solemnity of All Saints should help people reflect on the link between the Church on earth and the heavenly Church “that celebrates the never-ending feast.”
“In the saints we see the victory of love over selfishness and death: We see that following Christ leads to life, eternal life, and gives meaning to the present, every moment that passes, because it is filled with love and hope,” the Pope said Nov. 1 from the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square.
“Only faith in eternal life makes us truly love the history and the present, but without attachment, with the freedom of the pilgrim, who loves the earth because his heart is in heaven,” he said.
The Holy Father recalled that the feast of All Saints reminds us of the communion of saints, “a reality that begins here on earth and that reaches its fulfillment in heaven.”
The earthly dimension of the communion of saints is founded on Christ and the Church, he explained, adding that Christians should be open to that holy community and strive to sprout “upwards towards heaven.”
Pope Benedict then reflected on how all the saints, those canonized, but especially also those known only to God, have “lived intensely” this dynamic connection between heaven and earth.
“In each of them, in a very personal way, Christ was present, thanks to his Spirit, which acts through the word and the sacraments. In fact, being united to Christ in the Church does not negate one’s personality, but opens it, transforms it with the power of love and confers on it, already here on earth, an eternal dimension,” he said.
“This insertion in Christ also opens us, as we have said, to communion with all the other members of his mystical body, which is the Church, a communion that is perfect in heaven, where there is no isolation, no competition or separation.”
The feast of All Saints is also related to the end of time, the Pope emphasized.
“In today's feast, we look forward to the beauty of this life fully open to the gaze of love of God and neighbor, in which we are sure to reach God and one another in God.”
Following his address, the Holy Father greeted the English-speaking pilgrims and told them that today’s feast “reminds us of our eternal destiny, where we will dwell, as St. Thomas Aquinas says, in true and perfect light, total fulfillment, everlasting joy and gladness without end.”
Pope Benedict concluded his address by asking Mary to pray that we receive the grace “to strongly believe in eternal life and feel ourselves in true communion with our deceased loved ones.”