Nov 1 – Solemnity of All Saints
All Saints’ Day is celebrated in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. In terms of Roman Catholic theology, the feast commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in heaven. The beatific vision is the eternal and direct perception of God enjoyed by those who are in Heaven, imparting supreme happiness and blessedness. St. Thomas Aquinas defined the beatific vision as the ultimate end of human existence after physical death.
The origin of this feast as celebrated in the West dates to 13 May 609 or 610, when Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs; the feast of the dedication Sanctae mariae ad Martyres has been celebrated at Rome ever since. The chosen day, May 13, was a pagan observation of great antiquity, the culmination of three days of the Feast of the Lemures, in which the malevolent and restless spirits of the dead were propitiated.
The feast of All Saints, on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III (731-741) of an oratory in St. Peter’s for the relics “of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world”, with the day moved to Nov 1.
1 Jn 3:1-3
“Happy the peacemakers: they shall be called sons of God.”
Today, we celebrate All Saints’ Day. My favourite saint is Mother Mary. She is my confirmation saint too.
Some days, I often wonder, how much time would a saint like Our Lady spend in our digital world of the modern era? How would a saint like Our Lady conduct herself on social media? Which social media platform would she use? Would she post pictures of the Holy Family or videos of Jesus’ miracles on Instagram? Surely, communicating with Jesus via WhatsApp or Telegram would mean that she would not have lost child Jesus in the temple for 3 days and 3 nights! And how would she have reacted if the Pharisees kept flooding her social media platforms with lots of negative comments? Jesus’ social media platform might be receiving even more judgmental comments, dislikes and death threats.
Then, I read recently about Blessed Carlo Acutis, who was beatified on October 10, 2020, at Assisi. I am in awe of this modern saint’s degree of spiritual discipline, to the extent that each week, he played video games only for an hour. As a programmer, he built a website cataloguing the Eucharistic miracles, and on the website, he told netizens that “the more often we receive the Eucharist, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven.” He also went to Mass as often as he could, and he made Holy Hours before or after Mass. He went to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation weekly. His strong and dedicated passion and devotion to God converted his parents too, even though he was suffering from leukaemia.
So, following this saint, I realise that in today’s digital world, we should strive to promote our Catholic faith; but more importantly, to make peace and not war on social media, especially when we discuss controversial topics like abortion. And we should always be mindful of how Jesus remained peaceful, even when the Pharisees tried to stir up trouble for Him. It is also a good idea to practise spiritual discipline and prudence when we use social media, and to spend meaningful time with God every day too.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Brenda Khoo)
Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us to be better Catholics in today’s digital world, always making peace and spreading the seeds of our faith everywhere we go to, whether it is at home, in school or on social media. Please give us the graces to be loving and peaceful as we strive for holiness and sainthood. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the chance to evangelise our Catholic faith on social media, and the opportunity to reach out to many lost sheep out there in the world through digital avenues. Amen.