The Feast of All Saints

Part II

Colloquy Between the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant

"Oh! how great is the multitude of Thy sweetness, O Lord, which Thou hast hidden for them that fear Thee! (Ps. xxx. 20)"

Question People:

From your blissful thrones of glory 
Look on us, O ye elect; 
Tell us what repays your combat, 
Tell us what we may expect?

Answer Saints: 

Our delights no one can utter, 
Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard; 
Nor can mortals feel the pleasure, 
That for us God hath reserved.

Question People:

Ye, bright martyr throng, whose courage 
Never quailed amid the strife; 
What is now to be your portion 
After giving up your life?

Answer Saints: 

We, with waving palms, all standing, 
And with banners bright unfurled, 
Sing for ever, alleluia, 
To the Saviour of the world.

Question People:

Famous doctors, ye, whose voices
Have resounded here below,
By what new and wondrous doctrines
Are your minds enlightened now?

Answer Saints: 

From the everlasting fountain 
Of the unerring truth of God, 
We are learning untold secrets 
Ever in our blest abode.

Question People: 

Ye, whose unabated penance
Made the desert so renowned,
Hermits, tell us, for your rigours
What delight ye now have found?

Answer Saints: 

For the pleasures we relinquished, 
For our homes and friends below, 
Joys delicious, pour in torrents, 
Fill our hearts and overflow.

Question People: 

Ye, the virgins, whose betrothals 
Bound you to a heavenly spouse, 
With what favours does He own you, 
Faithful to your threefold vows?

Answer Saints: 

Happy brides, in spotless garments, 
Close beside our Lord we throng; 
Where the Lamb goes, there we follow, 
While we sing the "unknown song."

Question People: 

As we gaze upon your glory, 
Saints of God, in Heaven's own light, 
Teach us how we too may join you, 
How to win those crowns so bright?

Answer Saints: 

Would you come whero wo have entered, 
Fight with all your strength and power;
Would you live the life eternal,
Dio to self at every hour?

Question People: 

Ah! wo shrink from pain and sorrow,
We are frightened when we hear;
We must live in constant struggles,
We must dio to all that's dear.

Answer Saints: 

If the path bo rough and thorny,
At tho end all pain shall cease;
If the battle be a fierce one,
There shall be eternal peace!

"Considering the end of their conversation, follow their faith."--Heb. xiii, 7.

When one lives in distress, and hears of the happiness of others, he naturally asks himself the question: How is it that, although born of parents of the most humble condition, he is held in such high honor, and is esteemed by so many? Thus we hear of an Emperor, once a swine-herd; of a Pope, the son of a carpenter. And how many similar examples do we not witness in America? Men of low birth have worked themselves up to the highest dignities of the State; and many from beggars have become millionaires. Here again the thought naturally suggests itself: How did their success begin? How did they manage to succeed so well?

Hence it is that, looking into heaven in spirit, and thinking upon those who have entered that happy abode, this question will also force itself upon us: What were the thoughts that occupied the minds of the Saints while here on earth? What means did they employ to attain such a degree of Christian perfection?

I say to you: Ask the Saints, and they will answer you from heaven.

How fitting it is to examine the motives that actuated their works, and guided them to the land of promise! Can there, indeed, be one more appropriate to the day?

O Mary, Queen of all Saints, Mirror of Justice, obtain for us the favor of the Saints, that we may follow their example and become holy! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater honor of God!

When we name the Saints and speak of them, we do not seem to consider them as ordinary beings, but rather as more than mortal, whom God has raised to more than human perfection. Yet this is not altogether the case. The Saints were men as we are. They were children of Adam, born in sin, and subject to the stain of original sin, as we all have been. As they grew in age, they were not free from temptation. They were frail children of Adam, who, as St. Paul declares, felt in themselves the sting of concupiscence, and were exposed to the dangers of being lost forever.

They lived as ordinary men, and yet their lives were extraordinary. What was ordinary in them, and belonged to their state of life, was not done in a common way, but rather in a perfect and holy , manner. Why this difference? I answer: Because they lived in the full resoluteness of those principles that faith taught them, and were more faithful in observing them than we are. You may ask: What are those principles? I answer: Ask the Saints themselves, they will tell you from above.

Speak, ye Saints of God, you holy--[name of patrons of this Church, etc.]--and all ye Saints! What did ye meditate upon that your lives became so holy? Listen today to the answer from heaven. 

Our thought was: I serve God. Do ye hear? Think on this, and you, too, will lead a holy life. Why? Because God is infinite perfection, and deserves an infinite homage. Indeed, no mortal, nay, not even Mary herself, can give this homage to God. The blessed Manhood of Christ, in hypostatic union with His Divinity, is alone capable of rendering to the Father the adoration due to Him. What lesson does this teach us? It teaches us that, though we had the ardor of Mary, and of all the Saints, we would still be obliged to acknowledge before God: I am a useless servant. My God, to Thee belongs a much greater zeal in Thy service than we can give.

Ye Saints, what made you so holy? Listen to the answer: Our thought was, God sees me.

Think on this as did the Saints, walk constantly according to their example, in the presence of God, and, as they did, so will you live holy. God Himself assured us of this when He said to Abraham: "Walk before Me and be perfect." Try this! Walk only one entire day in the presence of God, and say to yourselves, ten, twenty times a day, at the beginning and the end of your work: God sees me! and the inspirations of the Holy Ghost will be multiplied within you, and urge you to live in a holy manner. You will be inspired to make good resolutions, and will receive strength to live according to them.

Ye Saints of God, what made you so holy, so earnest, and humble in the service of God? Hear the answer: The thought that filled ourmindwas what I do, I do it for God.

Do you likewise think of this with the same assiduity, and you, too, will live holy in the strength and vigor of a pure intention.

This is done even in the world. Whosoever does any thing for a dignitary of this earth--for a Lord, a King, or an Emperor--on whose kindness depends the happiness of this whole life, that man certainly will make all possible endeavors to do his work as perfectly as he can, so that it may be presentable to this Lord, King, Ruler, or Benefactor.

Ye Saints of God, what made you so holy? Listen to the answer: It is this thought: either I must become holy and go to heaven, or I shall be damned. Either I must live in grace, and be in the company of the blessed, or I shall fall into sin, perish, and be numbered with the throngs of evil spirits and condemned sinners. "Not to go forward in the way of perfection is to go backward," St. Bernard says. Whoever does not swim against the stream, him the stream will sweep along in its course. If I do not become entirely holy in life, though I should die in the state of grace, the fires of Purgatory must cleanse me unto holiness. Hence it is better to labor and suffer meritoriously now, than to endure great torments without merit hereafter.

And mark this well. Perhaps none of you have ever thought of it. And still it is one of the teachings of the Church upon which the Saints continually meditated. Should we not reach the degree of sanctity to which God calls us as the Saints did, who are now raised to the honors of the altar, we may run the risk of being lost forever.

For you it may be either to be high in heaven, or not to be there at all. Remember Judas. He was either to have a place in heaven among the Apostles, or to be excluded altogether from the company of the Saints. The degree of holiness, which corresponds to this glory, depends, perhaps, upon one proffered grace--upon the use or abuse we make of it. A chain, be it the longest, if one link is missing, is falling.

It is the assurance of the Lord, Who said: "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a mustard seed." The lives of the Saints bear testimony to this. In their lives things apparently small took place; and had they not, on those occasions, listened to the inspirations of grace, they would never have become such great Saints; nay, perhaps they would have been lost.

Call to mind St. Anthony. Had he not listened to the inspiration of God, which said: " Go to Mass today ;" had he not heard the words of the Gospel: " If thou wilt be perfect, sell what thou hast, give it to the poor, and follow Me," he would likely have remained, during life, in the possession of his worldly goods; would have set his mind on gold; would not have retired to the desert, and would never have become the patriarch of innumerable Saints. The woes of riches would have befallen him; and, mayhap, he would be now a reprobate. Behold the mustard seed! Likewise, had John of God not listened to the inspiration: "Go today to the sermon;" had he not done it on that particular day; had he not heard that sermon, which made him a Saint instantaneously, although he was a sinner when he entered the church,--I ask, would he be a Saint to-day, or would he not rather be among the damned?

Do you know to which grace God has attached your salvation? You do not. Therefore, make use of every grace which the Lord offers you. Do this, and you will be holy.

Ye Saints of God, what made you holy? Listen to the answer: This thought,--The more assiduous I am, the better and lighter becomes the work, and the greater the merit thereof. Think on this, and you, too, will acquire merit, as did the Saints, and gather full sheaves for the granary of heaven.

Ye Saints, what made you so holy? Listen to the answer: This was our reflection,--Life is but one. Only once have I the opportunity to reap merits for heaven. Now, or never! Oh, what an all-important principle!

Not without a special dispensation of divine Providence does the Feast of All Saints precede that of All Souls,--that reminder of certain death,--that reminder of the fleeting nature of time! Death and time cease together! The harvest is over! Eternity begins!

"Yes, time, thou art precious as God Himself," cried St. Chrysostom,--for time is the only means by which we can insure our union with God forever, and increase His glory. Were we able to see every evening all the crowns that we have lost during the day, not only because we have sinned, but because we have not made use of all the hours and minutes of the day in the service of God,--with what fervor would we not live the following day!

Hence, think daily of your last hour, and ask yourself: When the moment comes, and my heart beats for the last time, how would I then desire to have spent my life ? Holily! But then it will be too late! Now, I have it in my power; but then, as my life has been, so will be my death! If I have lived in lukewarmness, the pangs of the tepid Christian at death await me! On the contrary, if I have lived with the zeal of the Saints, then will I certainly die the precious and consoling death of the just. Maybe, a death even without Purgatory.

Ye Saints, what made you so holy? Oh, we thought, if I die holily, I shall go straight to heaven. My judgment shall be without judgment, and I shall hear the invitation of the Lord: "Enter thou into My joy."

Finally, the Saints of heaven ask us: Why do you question us so often? Children of men, do you not know where we are? In the kingdom of recompense! Should we be sorry for any thing, it would be that we did not live more holily, and did not labor and suffer more for heaven.

But you may ask: Must I not then receive special grace from God to live thus? I answer: And thou shalt have it, if thou prayest for it with an upright heart; not, indeed, because of thy own merits, but because of the infinite merits of Christ.

All depends on this: That thou be, at present, as earnest and sincere as the Saints. Then wilt thou be able to say before God: Lord, Thou seest my heart; I am in earnest; I have said it, now do I begin, and I will live up to the principles of the Saints. Give me Thy efficacious grace.

May all the Saints intercede for us, that we may obtain these graces. All heaven says: Amen! Amen! 

The Feast of All Saints Continued 

Lives of the Saints: Compiled from Authentic Sources with a Practical Instruction on the Life of Each Saint, for Every Day in the Year by Rev. F. X. Weninger. Permissu Superiorum. New York: P. O'Shea, Publisher, 67 Barclay Street and 42 Park Place. 1876.
The Feast of All Saints The Feast of All Saints Reviewed by Francisco Nascimento on 19:14 Rating: 5

Nenhum comentário:

Tecnologia do Blogger.