"Dearly beloved brethren: This day we keep, with one great cry of joy, a Feast in memory of all God's holy children; His children, whose presence is a gladness to heaven; His children, whose prayers are a blessing to earth; His children, whose victories are the crown of the Holy Church; His chosen, whose testifying is the more glorious in honor, as the agony in which it was given was the sterner in intensity…" ~from a sermon by St. Bede the Venerable, taken from Matins on All Saints
Ave Maria! As God's holy children, the saints are our brothers and sisters. The Father has given them to us, and how precious they are! They are our beloved companions, our trusted confidants, our loyal friends. We can count on them. They will help us if we but call upon them. Their presence gladdens us who are pilgrims and strangers on the earth (Heb 11:13). Their victories encourage us to seek the eternal city that is to come (Heb 13:14). Their prayers strengthen us to live the truth in love and in all things to grow up in Christ who is our Head (Eph 4:12). Their witness assures us that if we die with the Lord, we shall also live with Him (2 Tim 2:11).
The saints were human, like us. They faced the same obstacles, struggles, difficulties, pains, sorrows, and evils that we do. They also knew the same milestones, achievements, joys, beauties, wonders, and successes as ours. But they loved our Lord Jesus more than anyone else or anything else in this world, and thus they faithfully and constantly strove to imitate Him and to practice His virtues. They could say with St. Paul, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us" (Rom 8:18). The saints lived in and for the glory to come – Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received (Jn 1:16). No wonder we keep this feast "with one great cry of joy"!