.- Pope Benedict XVI said on todayâs feast of All Saints that everyone is called by Jesus to holiness in their own path toward sainthood.
âThe liturgy reminds us today that the original vocation of every baptized person is holiness,â the Pope said in his Nov. 1 Angelus address from the window of his apartment that overlooks St. Peterâs Square.
Jesus Christ, âwith the Father and the Holy Spirit, has loved the Church as his bride and gave himself for it in order to make her holy,â he emphasized.
He also reminded Catholics to see the Church as more than just a human institution.
Today, he said, âwe are thus invited to look at the Church, not in its temporal aspects marked by human weakness, but as Christ willed it, as âthe communion of saints.ââ
He told them that todayâs feast day was âa favorable opportunityâ to raise our eyes âfrom the realities of this world marked by timeâ up to âthe dimensions of God, the dimensions of eternity and holiness.â
The Pope also reflected on how todayâs emphasis on the âcommunion of saintsâ continues into tomorrowâs commemoration of All Souls, which occurs every Nov. 2. This is the day when the Church prays for the souls in Purgatory.
All Souls Day, the Pope said, âhelps us to remember our loved ones who have left us, and all the souls on their way to the fullness of life, just on the horizon of the heavenly Church.â
He noted how the custom of praying for the dead has existed since âthe early days of the Christian faith,â and that these prayers are ânot only useful but necessary,â since they ânot only can help themâ but also make their prayers for those on earth effective.
In many Catholic parts of the world, All Souls Day is marked by visiting the graves of loved ones. In several Spanish speaking countries â particularly Mexico â this custom is referred to as the âDay of the Dead.â
âAlthough a visit to the cemeteries, maintains the bonds of affection with those who loved us in this life,â said the Pope, it also âreminds us that we are all tending towards another life beyond death.â
This means that our âcrying due to earthly detachment does not prevail,â he said. Rather, it is overcome by our âcertainty of the resurrectionâ and our âhope of reaching the bliss of eternityââthat âsupreme moment of satisfaction, in which all embraces us and we embrace all.â
Pope Benedict concluded by entrusting both âour pilgrimage to the homeland of Heaven,â as well as that of our âdead brothers and sisters,â to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, Queen of All Saints.