From a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot
Let us make haste to our brethren who are awaiting us.
Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feast day mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honors when their heavenly Father honors them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honor from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.
Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We long to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints. But our dispositions change. The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them.
Come, brothers, let us at length spur ourselves on. We must rise again with Christ, we must seek the world which is above and set our mind on the things of heaven. Let us long for those who are longing for us, hasten to those who are waiting for us, and ask those who look for our coming to intercede for us. We should not only want to be with the saints, we should also hope to possess their happiness. While we desire to be in their company, we must also earnestly seek to share in their glory. Do not imagine that there is anything harmful in such an ambition as this; there is no danger in setting our hearts on such glory.
When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning: that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory. Until then we see him, not as he is, but as he became for our sake. He is our head, crowned, not with glory, but with the thorns of our sins. As members of that head, crowned with thorns, we should be ashamed to live in luxury; his purple robes are a mockery rather than an honor. When Christ comes again, his death shall no longer be proclaimed, and we shall know that we also have died, and that our life is hidden with him. The glorious head of the Church will appear and his glorified members will shine in splendor with him, when he forms this lowly body anew into such glory as belongs to himself, its head.
Therefore, we should aim at attaining this glory with a wholehearted and prudent desire. That we may rightly hope and strive for such blessedness, we must above all seek the prayers of the saints. Thus, what is beyond our own powers to obtain will be granted through their intercession.
The Saints Crowned in Glory
The Saints are longing for us,
Longing that we share their glory.
No harm in such ambition,
This glory is to be spread abroad
By God’s sovereignty
This glory is none other
Than the glory in which the Father
Robed His dying Son.
It is now reflected in His Saints,
Who in life picked up their cross,
And followed Him upon their knees.
The battle they fought on Earth now is ours.
They continue with us,
The Church Triumphant,
Pleading for the Church Militant.
Blessed are those who were poor in spirit,
Who were merciful, loving their enemies,
Who mourned and who were persecuted,
Who were pure of heart,
And sought peace
Through the wood of the Cross.
Blessed are all those gathered
To the Father’s bosom.
Blessed are they and generous,
Interceding for the saints,
As they look for us to follow in their steps.
Brothers and Sisters,
Radiant in glory,
Beam forth Christ.
All happiness to His Saints
Rewarded now and forever.
All glory to the Father,
The Son and the Holy Spirit.
By Joann Nelander