01 Nov – All Saints Day
Today is the first time Regina Xie is sharing OXYGEN with us. She will be volunteering on a weekly basis to share her spiritual journey with us on Wednesdays. May you all give her the support and encouragement that you’ve given to all previous and current volunteers.
Nov 1, instituted to honour all the saints, known and unknown. It owes its origin in the Western Church to the dedication of the Pantheon in honour of the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs by Pope Boniface IV, 609, the anniversary of which was celebrated in Rome, May 13. Pope Gregory III (731-741) consecrated a chapel in the Vatican basilica in honour of All Saints, designating Nov 1 as their feast; Gregory IV extended its observance to the whole Church. It has a vigil and octave and is a holy day of obligation. The eve is popularly celebrated as Hallowe’en.
– Source: Patron Saint Index
Revelations 7:2-4, 9-14
Then I saw another angel rising where the sun rises, carrying the seal of the living God; he called in a powerful voice to the four angels whose duty was to devastate land and sea, ‘Wait before you do any damage on land or at sea or to the trees, until we have put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.’ And I heard how many had been sealed: a hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel.
After that I saw that there was a huge number, impossible for anyone to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands. They shouted in a loud voice, ‘Salvation to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ And all the angels who were standing in a circle round the throne, surrounding the elders and the four living creatures, prostrated themselves before the throne, and touched the ground with their foreheads, worshipping God with these words:
Amen. Praise and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honour
and power and strength to our God for ever and ever. Amen.
One of the elders then spoke and asked me, ‘Who are these people, dressed in white robes, and where have they come from?’ I answered him, ‘You can tell me, sir.’ Then he said, ‘These are the people who have been through the great trial; they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.’
1 John 3:1-3
You must see what great love the Father has lavished on us by letting us be called God’s children—which is what we are! The reason why the world does not acknowledge us is that it did not acknowledge Him. My dear friends, we are already God’s children, but what we shall be in the future has not yet been revealed. We are well aware that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as he really is. Whoever treasures this hope of Him purifies himself, to be as pure as He is.
Seeing the crowds, Jesus went onto the mountain. And when He was seated His disciples came to him. Then He began to speak. This is what He taught them:
How blessed are the poor in spirit:
the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Blessed are the gentle:
they shall have the earth as inheritance.
Blessed are those who mourn:
they shall be comforted.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for uprightness:
they shall have their fill.
Blessed are the merciful:
they shall have mercy shown them.
Blessed are the pure in heart:
they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers:
they shall be recognised as children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness:
the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.
When they are alive, they live lives descriptive of the Beatitudes. They are poor in spirit, gentle, they mourn, hunger and thirst for uprightness, are merciful, pure in heart, are peacemakers, and are persecuted in the cause of uprightness. People abuse them and persecute them and speak all kinds of calumny against them falsely on Jesus’ account. They live for Christ. Many even die for Christ!
In heaven, they praise God for eternity. They see Him in His full glory, at the throne. What would it be like to have “washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb”? What would it be like to stand in that glorious scene, worshipping God, “Praise and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honour and power and strength to our God for ever and ever”? Do you look forward to the day when you can do that?
The saints are not only examples for us to follow, they are our signs of the hope that we desire to have in following Christ. In a world that downplays God, believing in Him, depending on Him and putting Christ’s values into practice will definitely earn us persecution. Perhaps the persecution is not one of physical attack, but in more subtle ways such as having to struggle inside us to choose between the ways of the world and the ways of God in our daily lives.
What are the inward struggles that you are dealing with now? Are you prepared to make a difficult but loving decision? Let yourself be reminded by a saint who struggled in living a Christ-like life today, and be reminded of the Christ who has been, is, and will be the saints’ inspiration in their struggles, especially on His painful, trying journey to Calvary to redeem each and every one of us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Regina Xie)
Father, send Your Holy Spirit upon us to help us to focus on You in our struggles.
Give thanks to the Lord for: the many canonized saints whom we can draw our inspiration from, and for the saints in our daily lives who show us the face of Christ.
Thu, 02 Nov – Daniel 12:1-3; Romans 6:3-9; John 6:37-40; The Commemoration of All The Faithful Departed (All Souls)
Fri, 03 Nov – Philippians 1:1-11; Luke 14:1-6; Memorial for St. Martin de Porres, religious
Sat, 04 Nov – Philippians 1:18b-26; Luke 14:1, 7-11; Memorial for St. Charles Borromeo, bishop
Sun, 05 Nov – Deuteronomy 6:2-6; Hebrews 7:23-26; Mark 12:28b-34; Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.