Sunday of All Saints
After this, I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all the tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb”! (Revelations 7:9-10)
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and the constant renewal of the Spirit in and through the life of the Church, is the power of new life in Christ. It is a power and a life that transforms believers and through them passes actively and fruitfully into the community and world around us. The Holy Spirit was sent so that we might be filled with this new, glorious and grace-filled life in Christ, and that we might be witnesses to it and agents of it.
Sergei Fudel writes: Sanctity is the reality of communion with the Holy Spirit. For this reason, the whole question of the Church comes down to its sanctity, its being filled with the Holy Spirit, the individuals of whom the Church consists, being filled with the Holy Spirit. The point of everything is holiness.
Holiness takes many forms, the saints constitute a great and diverse company. In the Liturgy, we remember: Fathers, Mothers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, Teachers, and every righteous spirit made perfect in faith - and especially our most Holy, most Pure, most Blessed and Glorious Lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary. There are saints known and unknown. They are our advocates before the throne of God and the leaven of righteousness mysteriously at work in the world.
Come, O believers, let us celebrate in song today, glorifying the memory of all the saints: Hail, O glorious apostles, prophets, martyrs, and bishops! Hail, O company of all the just! Hail, O ranks of holy women! Pray that Christ will grant our souls great mercy! (from the Apostikha)
- Fr. Andrew