A reflection on the festivals of All Saints and All Souls
by Revd Br Patrick Scheiner OSBA
In our Catholic tradition and more especially in the Orthodox tradition saints are very important. Entering an Orthodox church, one will find many icons and people praying in front of them. For rather Protestant souls, this seems to be idolatry and they accuse people of adoring 'pictures'. 'Christ is enough and we do not need saints' is often the argument against such 'idolatry'.
The Saints gave us a living example of trust and faith, faith in the God we can´t see, but of whom we can get a slight notion by following him even in the darkest time of our lives. Was it fun for Mary to see her son dying on the cross? Certainly not, but her trust in God helped her to overcome this deep mourning. She was the closest to God and must have felt
strongly what it meant 'to be in this world but not to be from this world'. She is the Saint of Saints!
And the other Saints? They all had their special vocation in life – a vocation to follow Christ in diverse ways. Not because they
were perfect but rather, in their imperfection they were made whole! For this reason, venerating icons does not equal idolatry. The icons are a mirror of God and the Saints help us to remember that even being human, Christ wants us to be unique and to be part of the divine mystery. The Saints interceed for us and help us on this earth to be connected with God in a special way.
When we celebrate All Souls on the 2ndof November, we think and pray for our families and friends who have gone to their rest. We remember them and are grateful for theilives which they shared with us and we are sure they are surrounded by God´s
great love, a love which is greater than our understanding, in another world of no struggle and pain, but in joyful happiness.
All these thoughts will make the grey and cold time of the year brighter, a brightness which is not from this earth and of which we get a glimpse by celebrating the sacred misteries of the altar. So let us be saints not by being perfect, but by being aware that we have to follow Christ. In him alone we find real happiness and peace in our hearts.