From the Rector
This week we celebrated the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls. The Feast of All Saints, on 1 November, was once known as All Hallows Day (Hallow meaning Holy Person), and the evening before was Hallowe'en. In the United States and recently in some suburbs of Australia, Halloween has become an occasion for children to disguise themselves in themed costumes and travel from house to house in order to ask for treats.
All Saints Day is an opportunity for believers to remember all saints and martyrs, known and unknown, throughout Christian history. In the broader sense, everyone in heaven is a saint. However, some are judged worthy of specific veneration, with official recognition given through a process of canonisation. When someone is given spiritual respect because they are close to God and we are inspired by their virtuous qualities, their cause may be investigated by the Church. Initially they are recognised as Servant of God. If evidence shows heroic virtue, they may receive the title of Venerable. If they are a martyr or a miracle has taken place through their intercession, they are given the title of Blessed. After beatification, another miracle is needed for canonisation and the formal declaration of sainthood.
The word ‘saint’ in the New Testament has a more general meaning referring to any believer in whom Christ dwells. That definition could refer to most of us, especially when we let God work in us. In this sense, saints are ordinary people through whom God does extraordinary work. Saints live in the world, but rise above its standards. They give themselves in loving service, rather than seeking personal comfort. They have that special quality to find hope and meaning within suffering and struggle. Presumably, they have doubts and make mistakes as we all do, but somehow are not overcome by weakness or lack of faith. They have a personal strength enabling them to keep trusting God. Above all, they are humble.
Saints are not superheroes, but people like us through whom God works. A saint is someone through whom we catch a glimpse of what God is like. We all have gifts and talents that God can shape into something miraculous. There is a saint in all of us.
The Feast of All Souls is celebrated on 2 November. We remember those who have died. We may offer Masses and visit cemeteries to pray at the graves of family members and close friends. We sometimes hear the word soul in conversation. People may be described as a lost soul or a beautiful soul. A tune or a painting can stir a soul, and mellow jazz is said to be soulful. We alert others to distress by an SOS ‒ save our souls. Nearly all the great religions believe in a soul ‒ something that survives the body in death.
On All Souls Day, we remember the dead that we have known. Remembering can be a time of grief. Grief is one of those emotions that celebrates love. As we remember the love we shared with those who have gone, we also cherish the moments we share with the people still on our path. It is a time to remind us to love the life that each of us has been given, to spend time with our families and those dearest, and to allow others to teach and nourish us. Our shared journey in faith and hope is the most treasured gift of all.
We pray in thanks for all our saints and for all the faithful departed that they will rejoice in God’s presence for all eternity. To nominate deceased members of family and friends for special prayer during the month of November, please use the following form.
Click HERE to download a Prayer Request.
Fr Peter Hosking SJ
OREMUS (Let us pray)
We remember all in our College community. May our prayers comfort those suffering at this time. May God’s blessing be a source of support in their sorrow and loss, and bring courage, patience, and hope.
“Ask and you shall receive … knock and the door will be opened unto you.” (Matt 7:7)
If you would like someone to be remembered by the College community in prayer (even anonymously), please provide details to the Rector, class or Home Group Teacher, or Year Coordinator.