Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory to Him forever! This is the greeting among Byzantine Christians during most of the church year, rendered in Slavonic as Slava Isusu Christu! Slava na viki! It is a wonderful way to acknowledge that all is to be done for Him, including the most ordinary of conversations. Everything should be done for the glory of the Lord, which includes our ordinary daily living, the good and the bad. I’ve been absent from the blog due to a particularly hard stretch of physical impairment, such that it was pretty hard to get the basics done, let alone this! But in my absence from the blog, I still strove to give glory to Him, with the sincere knowledge that my intention united with suffering was remembered by God: the salvation of souls both living and deceased, relief for the souls who have no one praying for them, the building up of the Body of Christ on earth and redemption for the Suffering Church around the world. This weekend, all Churches adhering to the Byzantine rite, both Orthodox and Catholic, commemorate ALL SAINTS – those whose journeys now continue in the presence of the Holy Trinity.
All Saints is set on this Sunday to remember all those who have responded to the call of the Holy Spirit, given at Pentecost, and who achieved the fullness of the Christian life. This is the day to remember all those anonymous Christians, people who were humble or royal, monks and nuns or parents of children, workers, soldiers, doctors, farmers, tradesmen: every soul who now dwells in glory in Heaven. These people, from all nations and all ranks of life, see the full Beatific Vision, the revelation of the Holy Trinity.
And it is important to remember that they do not forget us – they pray for us so that we will have the same blessing. This is the Communion of Saints.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia (1911) we read: Repeatedly St. Paul speaks of the one body whose head is Christ (Colossians 1:18), whose energizing principle is charity (Ephesians 4:16), whose members are the saints, not only of this world, but also of the world to come (Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 12:22). In that communion there is no loss of individuality, yet such an interdependence that the saints are “members one of another” (Romans 12:5), not only sharing the same blessings (1 Corinthians 12:13) and exchanging good offices (1 Corinthians 12:25) and prayers(Ephesians 6:18), but also partaking of the same corporate life, because “Christ holds it together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of charity” (Ephesians 4:16).
The Catholic Catechism of today writes: The intercession of the saints. “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.”
As Saint Therese of Lisieux said on her deathbed: “I want to spend my heaven doing good upon earth.”
There is really nothing more to say of the ongoing lives of the saints and their concern for us, is there? So enjoy this weekend in the presence of the saints, known and unknown, and ask that we respond to God’s grace as they did, and so enter into His glory.