Praying the midday Angelus on All Saints’ Day, Pope Francis invited the faithful to follow the example of the saints who won in the battle against the world by giving their all to the Lord, “without half-measures.”
The Supreme Pontiff was speaking in front of a crowd that had bravely gathered despite the gray and the rain. Among the pilgrims were many participants of the 11th edition of the “Race of the Saints,” which ended in front of St. Peter’s Square. This race is sponsored annually by the Don Bosco Missions foundation in support of Salesian missionaries worldwide. “Thank you for your beautiful initiative and for your presence,” the pope told them.
The Holy Father referred to All Saints Day as a “family feast,” in which the faithful are invited to unite with all the saints who make up the “heavenly family.”
The pope said we are united not only with the canonized saints of the liturgical calendar but also with our “next door” saints – our relatives and acquaintances who are now part of that immense multitude.
For all of them, according to the head of the Catholic Church, are with God and they invite the believers “to the path of happiness.”
The saints “exhort us to choose their side,” affirmed the Successor of Peter, “that of God who is holy.”
It may seem that the way of the beatitudes and holiness needs to lead to defeat, yet the First Reading depicts the saints holding “palm branches in their hands”, symbols of victory. It is the saints who are victorious, not the world.
Following the saints, the pope encouraged Catholics to put the Gospel into practice and to embark on the path of the beatitudes. “It’s not about doing extraordinary things,” said the Bishop of Rome, but to follow “every day” the path to paradise.
The pope said, “It is good for us to let ourselves be motivated by the saints, who never had half measures here on earth and who from there above ‘cheer’ us on, so that we choose God, humility, meekness, mercy and purity, because we are impassioned about heaven rather than earth.”
After the Marian prayer, Pope Francis asked the faithful to “accompany him in prayer” to the Roman cemetery of Laurentino where he will celebrate Mass in memory of the faithful departed on November 2.