Communion of Saints by Ira Thomas. (Click for larger view)
The prayers from the liturgy for the Solemnity of All Saints (Monday, November 1) give us not only a good understanding of what this day celebrates but also a fine insight into what we mean when we say we believe in the communion of saints.
The Opening Prayer for All Saints Day:
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
today we rejoice in the holy men and women
of every time and place.
May their prayers bring us
your forgiveness and love.
...the work of your hands is manifest in your saints,
the beauty of your truth is reflected in their faith.
May we who aspire to have part in their joy
be filled with the Holy Spirit that blessed their lives,
so that having shared their faith on earth
we may also know their peace in your kingdom.
The Prayer Over the Gifts:
receive our gifts
in honor of the holy men and women
who live with you in glory.
May we always be aware
of their concern to help and save us.
The Preface for All SaintsToday we keep the festival of Your holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, our mother. Around Your throne the saints, our brothers and sisters, sing Your praise for ever. Their glory fills us with joy, and their communion with us in Your Church gives us inspiration and strength as we hasten on our pilgrimage of faith, eager to meet them. With their great company and all the angels we praise Your glory as we cry out with one voice:Holy, holy, holy...
The Prayer After CommunionIn addition to affirming an afterlife, these prayers highlight our belief that we continue to be in relationship with those who have gone before us, marked with the sign of faith. It is not only a matter of our honoring the holy lives these brothers and sisters led but also of acknowledging that they who are already with the Lord continue to be concerned for us and our welfare. That the very work of God can be manifest in our lives calls us to the responsibility of living in a way that the love of God be transparent in our deeds and relationships. Finally, our prayer on All Saints Day reminds us that when we share at the altar of the Lord's table we have a foretaste of the banquet the saints share forever in the reign of God.
Father, holy one,
we praise your glory reflected in the saints.
May we who share at this table
be filled with your love
and prepared for the joy of your kingdom.
The church calendar sets aside many days to honor the most famous of saints. November 1 is the day for us to remember and honor those saints whose lives made headlines not in the daily papers but in the hearts of those they served and touched. All of us know such saints in our own lives - some who have gone home to the Lord and some who are still with us.
Happy All Saints Day!
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