Wikipedia describes the tradition in this way, "Catholics celebrate All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (November 2) in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those in the state of grace who have died and are either being purified in purgatory or are in heaven (the "church penitent" and the "church triumphant" respectively) and the "church militant" who are the living.
"After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,“Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."
Reading this, I remembered the "great multitude, from every nation and peoples and tongues" that attended World Youth Day in Madrid last August.
And in the middle of it all, Pope Benedict XVI. On the outside, a somewhat stern looking, white haired old man in white robes. Why would more than a million young and not so young people wait in the sun for hours or walk long distances just to get a glimpse of him? Isn't he just an ordinary man? What makes him so extraordinary, such that these young people treated him like a celebrity, a rock star! Is is by God's grace that the ordinary becomes extraordinary! By God's grace, he is the "Vicar of Christ," an earthly representative of Christ. How amazing! How wonderful!
And yes, it was by God's grace that we were able to walk such long distances. It was by God's grace that the girl we saw carried her injured friend, or the crippled pilgrim persevered to reach the farthest entrance when the other entrances were closed. Indeed, there is grace available and the Holy Spirit living in us enables us such that what we thought was impossible, becomes possible. What we thought we couldn't do, we can and what is ordinary becomes extraordinary.
And so we, who are ordinary men and women, become extraordinary as well, because by God's grace, we are sons and daughters of God. How amazing! How wonderful! And even as we live our everyday lives which may seem ordinary, we have the memories of the days we spent in Madrid to remind us that grace is always available and our lives are not ordinary after all, but extraordinary, for we are sons and daughters of a living God, "qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints"!
A blessed All Saint's Day! Linking up with Brag on God Friday, Soli Deo Gloria and Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday.