Solemnity of All Saints (Homily)
November 01, 2020 11:30 am · Father Sergio Muñoz Fita
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
As you know, this Tuesday at 7 pm, we will have a Holy Hour to pray for the results of the elections. I invite you all to participate either through the Internet or in person. As Catholics, we pray that the Will of God is fulfilled in our lives and in our societies and that we will always accept God's designs - even if He allows evil - with peace and joy in tribulation. If you want to pray with us this Tuesday, you are all invited.
Secondly, and to close this topic before today's homily, I want to tell you that tonight on Flocknote I will post a link to a homily by Father Sebastian Walshe, who was here in Saint Anne just a few weeks ago, speaking about marriage, natural and Christian. On the link, there is a 13-minute audio, his homily from 7 days ago. It would be impossible for me to repeat it with the same precision and beauty as Father Sebastian, so I encourage all of you to listen to it as if I were preaching it here. You will find in his voice a friend of your souls, a gentle and humble man echoing the teaching of the Gospel. If you want to be at peace with yourself, if you want God to enlighten you in the face of the duty to vote that many of you must exercise, give the Lord 13 minutes of your busy life and for the sake of your own souls and for the sake of your country, listen to Father Sebastian Walshe:
And now we go to today's homily for Solemnity of All Saints.
I sincerely wish you all a happy Solemnity of All Saints. The truth is that this year I really wanted this day to come. Surely, many of you have this experience: you have to take a flight and the day is rainy and gray. The weather is unpleasant and stormy, cold perhaps, low and thick clouds that do not let the sunlight pass through. The plane takes off and a few minutes later, you find yourself above the clouds, in a different world. The sun that previously seemed to have disappeared now bathes the air with light and joy. The clouds that looked ugly and dark from below, from the sky are like a fluffy cotton carpet. Everything is different up there: everything is light, everything is beautiful.
I believe that the Church encourages us today to rise above the clouds and storms of this world and reach with our hearts to that other place where everything is life and joy. In heaven, "there is no more crying, no death, no mourning, no pain." There the poor are rich, those who weep are happy, the thirsty are satisfied, the merciful obtain mercy, the peaceful inherit the land, and those persecuted for Christ await a crown of unfading glory. Those are the saints we venerate today. People like us who allowed themselves to be transformed by God's grace and lived on this earth, but with their eyes always set on heaven. Today I encourage you all to look to them, beginning with the Virgin Mary, because they are examples to us of martyrial fidelity to faith and light for our Christian life journey. They intercede for us and encourage us and give us hope. If we are faithful, as they were, one day we will join them in that place where those who do not fear the persecutions and humiliations of the world arrive.
In the end, it all comes down to leading a holy life and dying well. If you will allow me to bring the testimony of one of those saints that we celebrate today, and read to you the death of Saint Dominic Savio, a 14-year-old boy. The story is written by his spiritual director, also a saint, Saint John Bosco. Father Antonio read it to me when I was about 12 years old. People may say that death is never beautiful, but that is not true. The death of a saint is one of the most beautiful things that can be witnessed. May the holiness of this child ignite in us the desire to live and die as he did. A brave boy's lesson to fearful adults like us!
“Our faith tells us that at the hour of death we will reap the harvest of our good deeds. “What a man has sown, that shall he reap.” If we have planted seeds of evil we can expect disaster upon disaster. Nevertheless, it happens sometimes that even saintly souls feel terror at the approach of death. God allows this, in his admirable decrees, in order to purify those souls of their slight stains and thus assure them a more glorious crown in heaven. It was not so with Dominic. I believe that God gave him that “hundredfold” which he promises to the just before they receive the glory of heaven. Indeed, Dominic’s innocence preserved till death, his lively faith, his continual prayers, his long penances, and his life filled with pain certainly deserved comfort at the moment of death.
Hence, Dominic watched death draw close with the peacefulness of an innocent soul. It would seem that his body, too, was spared the pain and agony that usually accompany its separation from the soul. Dominic’s death was more a falling asleep than a dying.
It was the night of March 9, 1857. He had already received the comforts of our holy religion. Those who heard him speak and saw the peace of his countenance thought he was resting. He was happy, his eyes were bright, he was fully conscious. No one but himself could have thought he was so close to death.
An hour and a half before he breathed his last, the pastor came to him and, noting his calmness, was surprised to hear him commend his soul to God. Dominic kept repeating short prayers in long, drawn out breaths. All could see how eager he was to go to eternity. What could a priest suggest to a boy in his last hours? After reciting some prayers with him, he turned to leave.
“Please, Father,” Dominic called out, “give me a little remembrance before you go.”
“What remembrance can I leave you?”
“Something to comfort me.”
“I can think of nothing else but to remember the passion of Jesus!”
“Thank you,” Dominic replied. “The passion of Jesus will always be in my mind, on my lips, and in my heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, assist me in my last agony. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I breath forth my soul in peace with you.”
After this he fell asleep and rested for a half hour. Then he opened his eyes, looked at his parents, and gasped, “Dad (Papá), it’s time!”
“Here I am, son. What do you need?”
“Dad it’s time! Take my prayer book and read me the prayers for a happy death.”
At these words his mother broke into sobs and left the bedroom. His father’s heart was filled with grief and sobs choked his voice, but he forced himself to read the prayers. Dominic repeated each word clearly and distinctly. At the end of each verse of the litany of the dying, he kept saying by himself, “Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me!”
His father came to the words: “When at length my soul, admitted to your presence, shall first behold the immortal splendor of your majesty, reject it not, but receive me into the loving bosom of your mercy, where I may ever sing your praises.”
“Yes,” Dominic gasped, “that is all I want, Dad (Papá). To sing the eternal praises of God!”
For a while he appeared to be resting, much like one who is lost in thought before making an important decision. Then he slowly came to, and with a smile he said clearly, “Good-bye, Papá, good-bye! The pastor wanted to tell me something else, but I can’t remember… Oh, what a beautiful thing I see!”
With these words and a heavenly smile on his lips, Dominic breathed his last, his hands crossed upon his breast. He did not make the slightest movement.
Go, faithful soul! Heaven opens its gates to you! The angels and saints have prepared a welcome for you!
Jesus, whom you so loved invites you and calls: “Come, good and faithful servant, you have fought well, you have won your crown! Now come and claim your happiness which shall never fail!”
ENTER INTO THE JOY OF YOUR LORD!”
May the Lord grant us the grace to live a life like that of the saints so that we can end our days with a holy death like Dominic Savio, eternally singing the praises of God in Paradise.