Depending on tradition--Western, Eastern, Protestant, Catholic--as well as geography and culture, there are so many ways we are celebrating and remembering today. We rejoice in the hope of heaven--that there are beatified saints enjoying the divine presence of God as we speak. We give thanks and revere those martyrs who died for their faith, and ours. And we encourage each other, for we are all saints and members in the Kingdom of God, and remember our brothers and sisters who are no longer with us.
And while my own understanding of heaven is perhaps not orthodox--and certainly not concrete or solidified--I can participate in this feast day, remembering the saints in love and hope and celebrating those saints by whom I am surrounded.
So I offer this prayer of Teresa of Avila on this special day:
“O holy souls that now rejoice without fear of losing your joy and are forever absorbed in the praises of my God! Happy indeed your lot! How right that you should employ yourselves ceaselessly in these praises! and how my soul envies you, free as you now are from the affliction caused by the grievous offenses which are in these unhappy days are committed against my God! No longer do you behold all the ingratitude of men and their blindness nor the multitude of souls being carried away by satan.
O blessed heavenly souls! Help us in our misery and intercede for us with the divine Mercy, so that we may be granted some part of your joy and you may share with us some of that clear knowledge which is now yours.
And You, O my God, make us understand what it is that You give to those who fight manfully through the dream of this miserable life. Help us, O loving souls, to understand what joy it gives you to behold the eternity of your bliss and what delight to possess the certain knowledge that it will never end.
O blessed souls, who knew so well how to profit by the gifts of God, and to purchase with this precious ransom so delectable and enduring a heritage, tell us how you won through Him such an eternal blessing! Assist us, since you are so near the Fountainhead. Draw water for those of us on earth who are perishing with thirst.”
Wishing all you saints a blessed day!