The Feast of All Saints…reminds us that the goal of our existence is not death, it is paradise! The apostle John writes, “It does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). The saints—who are the friends of God—assure us of this promise that does not disappoint. During their earthly existence they lived in profound communion with God. In the faces of the humblest and least of our brothers, the smallest and most despised brothers, they saw the face of God, and now they contemplate him face to face in his glorious beauty.
And on All Saints’ Day and the first day that we commemorate the faithful departed, we need to think a little about this hope that accompanies us in life. The first Christians depicted hope with an anchor, as though life were an anchor cast on heaven’s shores, with all of us journeying to that shore, clinging to the anchor’s rope. This is a beautiful image of hope: to have our hearts anchored there, where our beloved predecessors are, where the saints are, where Jesus is, where God is. This is the hope that does not disappoint; today and tomorrow are days of hope.
Through this feast, the saints give us a message. They tell us, “Trust in the Lord because the Lord does not disappoint!” He never disappoints, he is a good friend always at our side. Through their witness the saints encourage us to not be afraid of going against the tide or of being misunderstood and mocked when we speak about Jesus and the Gospel. By their lives the saints show us that the one who stays faithful to God and to his Word experiences the comfort of God’s love on this earth and then a “hundredfold” in eternity. This is what we hope for and ask of the Lord, for our deceased brothers and sisters. With her wisdom the Church has placed the Feast of All Saints and All Souls’ Day near each other. May our prayer of praise to God and veneration of the blessed spirits join with the prayer of suffrage for the souls of those who have preceded us in the passage from this world to eternal life.
Saints are people who for love of God did not put conditions on him in their lives; they were not hypocrites but spent their lives at the service of others. They suffered much adversity but without hate. The saints never hated. Understand this well: love is of God. Then from whom does hatred come? Hatred does not come from God but from the devil! And the saints removed themselves from the devil; the saints are men and women who have joy in their hearts, and they spread it to others. Never hate but serve others, [especially] the most needy; pray and live in joy. This is the way of holiness!
Being holy is not a privilege for the few, as if someone had a large inheritance; in baptism we all have an inheritance, which is the ability to become saints. Holiness is a vocation for everyone. Thus we all are called to walk on the path of holiness, and this path has a name and a face: the face of Jesus Christ. He teaches us to become saints. In the Gospel he shows us the way, the way of the Beatitudes (see Matt. 5:1–12).
—Excerpted from The Joy of Discipleship by Pope Francis