All Saints and All Souls

All religions are not the same. It’s a bizarre fallacy to suggest they are, and yet it’s one that gets bandied about all too frequently.

The Catholic Church has been around for over 2000 years and she”s had her ups and downs and plenty of people have tried to destroy her. All have failed both from within and without.  She still stands and Christ promised the gates of the underworld would not prevail.

God has poured out His grace in the most extraordinary way over some of her members. Looking at the very best fruit the Church has produced leaves quite an impact. Has any other religion or organisation produced the likes of St. Catherine of Siena, St. Thomas Aquinas, St Teresa of Avila, St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Padre Pio, and the list goes on. In every generation God has raised up bright shining lights to remind us of His Presence and strength. In His Name they heal the sick, teach the Truth, suffer for us and even raise the dead (St. Catherine of Siena famously demanded a doctor who had died of the plague, that he get up immediately and continue the work. He did so).

The famous case of Gemma Di Giogio born without pupils and therefore totally blind is another witness. I think she’s still alive isn’t she? Padre Pio through God’s grace gave her 20/20 vision. She still has no pupils and doctors and scientists have no material answer for her impossible sight.

Along with the miracle welding magnificent saints we have the quieter, more gentle saints like The Little Flower who accepted a great deal of personal suffering and offered it up as St. Paul said we should. St. Faustina who was the soul who carried the cross to mitigate the horror of the coming world war, Blessed Anna Marie Taigi, a little housewife who advised the great and the good with the graces she received and the suffering she offered.

The Church has just canonised Kateri Techakwitha, the first Native American saint. Her story is one of great goodness and courage in the face of overwhelming odds.

There are so many martyrs over the last 2000 years that it is easily understood why St. John in his vision of Revelation couldn’t count them. All those saint in heaven alive in Christ are praying their heavenly socks off for us. Thank God for that.

The greatest saint ever, is Our Lady. She is full of grace thanks to the mercy of God and as the New Ark she offers us her Son and points us to Him at all times. She as there at the birth of our Saviour (obviously) and was there at the birth of His Bride the Church, that Pentecost Sunday.

I genuinely do not know of another religion, that has saints of this calibre over so long, apart from, perhaps the Eastern Orthodox.

Why do so many people spend all their time looking at the Judases when we have these lights to guide the way? It’s pretty odd to look down at the fruit that fell from the tree and rots on the ground while the tree still bears an abundance of good fruit, if only they could look up once in a while.

Tomorrow is All Souls, when we remember not just the Church Triumphant, as today, but the Church Suffering. Those holy souls who are, as St. Paul describes, having the straw burned away so only the gold remains, for nothing unholy can enter heaven. It must all be left behind.

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