This Friday, November 1st is a holy day of obligation as we commemorate all the Saints. Let’s read the Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14 … “I, John, saw another angel come up from the East, holding the seal of the living God. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were given power to damage the land and the sea, ‘Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.’ I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand marked from every tribe of the children of Israel.
“After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.’
“All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They prostrated themselves before the throne worshiped God, and exclaimed: ‘Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’
“Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, ‘Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?’ I said to him, ‘My lord, you are the one who knows.’ He said to me, ‘These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.’”
The suspense is heightened by the insertion of two visions prior to the opening of the seventh seal. The first shows God’s protection of Christians – a great number, 144,000 – who are the new people of God. The second vision shows the glory enjoyed after death by those whom Christ has redeemed.
“The blood of the Lamb, offered in sacrifice for all, has worked its saving power in every corner of the world, bringing grace and salvation to this ‘great crowd.’ Having under gone trials and been purified by the blood of Christ, the redeemed are safe in the Kingdom of God, where they praise and worship him for all time” (John Paul II, Homily, November 1, 1981).
The revelation of these consoling scenes is intended to encourage us to imitate those Christians, who were once like us and now have won victory and are in heaven.
To this end, the Church invites us to pray: “Father, you sanctified the Church of Rome with the blood of its first martyrs. May we find strength from their courage and rejoice in their triumph” (Roman Missal, Feast of the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome, Opening Prayer).
Why do we venerate all Saints?
Showing devotion and respect to Mary, the Apostles, and the martyrs, who were viewed as faithful witnesses to faith in Jesus Christ. Later, veneration was given to those who led a life of prayer and self-denial in giving witness to Christ, whose virtues were recognized and publicly proclaimed in their canonization as saints (CCC 828). Such veneration is often extended to the relics or remains of those recognized as saints; indeed, to many sacred objects and images. Veneration must be clearly distinguished from adoration and worship, which are due to God alone (Catechism of Catholic Church 1154, 1674, 2132).