.- Thousands of faithful crowded into St. Peter’s Basilica today for the celebration of Mass for the Solemnity of All Saints, presided over by Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Father recalled, in his homily, that sanctity simply consists in serving Jesus, listening and following without loosing heart in the face of difficulties.
“It is not necessary to carry out extraordinary acts and works, nor to possess exceptional charisms…it is necessary first of all to listen to Jesus and then to follow Him without loosing heart in the face of difficulties,” Pope Benedict offered in response to the question, “How can we become saints - friends of God?”
The Pontiff said that, “the saints are not only a meager caste of chosen ones, but a numberless crowd,” in which, “there are not only the officially recognized Saints, but also the baptized of all times and nations who have sought to carry out the Will of God with love and fidelity.”
He also stressed that those gathered in the heavenly host each exhibited the, “will to embody the Gospel in their existence, under the impulses of the eternal animator of the People of God, who is the Holy Sprit.”
The Pope quoted St. Bernard in his response to the question of offering tribute to the saints, saying, “’Our Saints do not need our honor and do not receive anything from our ‘worship.’ But for my part, I mush confess that when I think of the Saints, I find myself burning with great desires.’ This, therefore, is the significance of today’s solemnity,” Pope Benedict said, “our looking upon the luminous example of the saints ignites in us the great desire to be like the saints: happy to live close to God, in His light, in the great family of the friends of God…and this is the vocation of each of us.”
“The experience of the Church shows that all forms of holiness, even though proceeding in different ways, pass always through the way of the cross…The biographies of the saints speak of men and women who, docile to the Plan of God, have faced at times tests and indescribably suffering, persecution, and martyrdom. They have persevered in their work, ‘they have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:14),’” the Pope continued.
He also recalled that while true joy comes from trusting in the Lord, “the only true cause of sadness and misery for mankind is to live far from Him.”