During the year the Church celebrates one by one the feasts of the saints. On November 1 she joins them all in one festival. In addition to those whose names she knows, she recalls in a magnificent vision all the others "of all nations and tribes standing before the throne and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, proclaiming Him who redeemed them in His Blood."
The feast of All Saints should inspire us with tremendous hope. Among the saints in heaven are some whom we have known. All lived on earth lives like our own. They were baptized, marked with the sign of faith, they were faithful to Christ's teaching and they have gone before us to the heavenly home whence they call on us to follow them. The Gospel of the Beatitudes, read today, while it shows their happiness, shows, too, the road that they followed; there is no other that will lead us whither they have gone.
"The Commemoration of All Saints" was first celebrated in the East. The feast is found in the West on different dates in the eighth century. The Roman Martyrology mentions that this date is a claim of fame for Gregory IV (827-844) and that he extended this observance to the whole of Christendom
Things to Do:
- Visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead during the Octave of All Saints' Day (November 1 through November 8) will gain a plenary indulgence that can be applied only to the souls in purgatory. On other days, this work gains a partial indulgence
- Spend a little time after Mass thanking God for all the unnamed saints, some of whom could be our own relatives.
- Pray the Litany of the Saints -- you could make it really special by chanting it ("he who sings prays twice") and you could read an explanation of this litany, which is considered the model of all other litanies.
Don't forget to pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory from November 1 to the 8th.