Updated: Jan 30
Today is All Saints Day, also known as All Hallows. Today it is on a Sunday, because Halloween fell on a Saturday. That means All Saints is ordinarily only celebrated by a handful of women during Vespers service in a Catholic church the evening before. That is then followed by a lite crowd on November 1st, usually mid-week, when busy people are busily working. However, the nearest Sunday most frequently becomes a combo-day for All Saints and All Souls, since November 2 is All Souls Day.
All Saints or All Hallows is today.
All Souls Day (aka Faithful Souls Day) is tomorrow.
Election Day is Tuesday.
Raise your hand if you attended Vespers somewhere last evening.
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Raise your hand if you passed out candy to Trick or Treaters last night.
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Raise your hand if you plan to vote Tuesday.
<look for raised hands>
According to the Wikipedia article on “All Saints Day,” they report the possibility that the day is recognized because of an ancient Roman observation of malevolent and restless spirits – which is more in-line with Halloween.
I imagine after such a frightful day of recognition, one would need time to reflect on why the whole world has not been overtaken by malevolent and restless spirits.
Saint Teresa of Avila combats Satan
The addition of All Souls Day (or the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed) should be understood that there is a difference between a Saint and a Faithful Soul … just as those two differ from malevolent and restless spirits.
Dante’s Purgatory depicted. Notice no saints like Teresa.
The readings set aside for All Souls Day are different than those read today, which is why today’s lessons are focused on what makes a Saint be distinguished from a Faithful Soul and why God has a need for Saints on earth.
In regard to this sense of mission for Saints, it becomes important to realize that the Eastern Orthodox Church routinely recognizes All Saints Day the Sunday after Pentecost. That becomes a direct link between Sainthood beginning after the Holy Spirit entered Jesus’ disciples, forever changing them into apostolic Saints.
Becoming Apostles: “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.” Acts 2:3
That change turned Faithful Souls into Saintly Servants; and the root word that we English-speaking Americans read as “Saint” is “Sancio,” the Latin infinitive meaning, “to consecrate , hallow, make inviolable, confirm, ratify, decree,” with “Sanctus” being the particle bearing the meaning, “consecrated, holy, sacred; pure, virtuous.” Thus, a Saint is consecrated by God as holy.
The word “hallow” means (as a verb) “To make or set apart as holy,” or (as an archaic noun), “A holy person or saint.”
It is, therefore, impossible to be a Saint or to be Hallow without God’s presence allowing for that piety.
The first Saints were those listed in the canon (or list) of holy people in the Holy Bible. Of course, the Roman Catholic Church has since come up with a method for canonizing “confessors” – those who claimed to have the powers of faith, which were then publicly confirmed.
If one looks up the list of Roman Catholic Popes, the first 35 popes were Saints. There were 48 in the first 50, then 52 in the first 54 (Saint Felix IV was the 54thpope, dying in 530 A.D.), but then only 70 by the time the first 100 had served (Valentine served only 40 days as number 100, in 827 A.D.). If you notice a trend, there is one, as less and less frequently were popes deemed Saints, as time passed.
By the time the 150th Roman Catholic pope was named (Benedict IX, serving 252 days between 1047 and 1048), only three more had been added, raising the total to 73 Saints out of 150 total. By the time the last pope of the 19th century had served (Leo XIII, who served over 25 years, ending in 1903), 256 popes had been named and the number of saintly popes had only risen to 77, although several had been Beatified, or named a “Servant of God.” That means the canonization process had begun for some, but then stopped after all documented witnesses to miracles had passed away and sainthood could no longer be confirmed.
They stopped making popes like the first ones long ago.
While a chart graphing the frequency of Saintly popes would accurately reflect the rapid spread of Christianity over the first 500 years after Christ Ascended, where there were certainly many common Saints from which Saintly popes were then chosen, the decrease in Saintly popes does not mean Saints ceased being around.
Crusades and Inquisitions obviously played a role in Saints ceasing to be commonly found around Europe, as the Church of Rome focused on consolidating its hold on how religion would be taught to the people. That began what today is a misunderstanding of why All Saints Day would follow the Day of Pentecost.
The Day of Pentecost – to Christians – represents when Christ Jesus was reborn into faithful souls of God, through God’s Holy Spirit. Because “Sanctus” means “Holy,” that presence is what transforms one into a Saint.
From the reading in the Wisdom of Solomon, it clearly states, “The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God.”
From that beginning, the season following the Day of Pentecost is termed “Ordinary Time,” which does not mean “normal” or “usual,” but “Ordained.” From the Day of Pentecost ALL APOSTLES become SAINTS, as Jesus reincarnated and reanimated, thus Saints are Ordained to serve God just as Jesus did. Jesus the mortal – the Son of Man – was an earthly Saint.
That becomes an awareness that allows us to see “ALL Saints Day” not as recognition of all the past humans who were saintly – having works of art depict them with halos over their heads – BUT that THE CHURCH of CHRIST – CHRISTIANITY – is and can only be ONE CHURCH that is made up TOTALLY of Saints … ALL Saints recognizes that EVERY true Christian is a Saint, filled with God’s Holy Spirit, acting as a reborn Jesus, with the Mind of the Christ.
Of course, there should also be faithful souls surrounding those Saints, who seek to also be Saints. Thus, Solomon wrote, “Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.” It is important to realize that gold ore is largely rock with bits of gold. The testing by fire removes all the worthless, leaving the 99.9% pure.
Only valuable when the ore is removed.
Such proving and testing is the necessary step towards transforming a mortal from a follower to a believer, from a believer to a disciple, and from a disciple to an Apostle – given the gifts of the Holy Spirit as the measurement of sainthood.
Therefore, David sang out the questions, “Who can ascend the hill of the LORD? And who can stand in his holy place?” He then answered by singing, “Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, who have not sworn themselves to falsehood, nor sworn by what is a fraud.”
When you sit alone and think about it … meditate on it … pray to God to understand it … a CHURCH can only fulfill its purpose to God and Christ by being ALL IN. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. For the true Church of Christ, the weakest link is a disciple with no intent to become an Apostle – a Judas – a falsehood version of a faithful soul.
What if parents could decide not to be all-in for their children? Too many are already.
The world is already filled with evil, under the masterful influence of Satan, such that the only way to counter the ways of the world is to be completely committed to the ways of the spiritual – as Holy, as Saints.
Saints must become the beacons of light that attract both evil (the tests of fire) and the lost soul searching for light and truth. You cannot defeat evil through weakness of any kind, where “weakness” is defined as “human frailty.” You cannot bring salvation to others who cannot see the miracle of your presence holding the Holy Spirit of God. They cannot see that by your proclamations, but only by your actions without explanation.
We live in very challenging times (historically) because we have less Saints and more evil present. We then read from the end of The Revelation of John, when he saw the future that comes. John said, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.”
John was shown death, where the symbolism of “the sea” is emotional – where the great depths of ocean waters reflect the subconscious state and our deepest feelings for that which cannot be physically sensed … only spiritually and faithfully known.
Such deep faith “was no more,” in this future told of by John.
A sea without water.
Likewise, “the first heaven and the first earth” will cease to exist … as we know it today. When read through the filter of sainthood, one should be able to see how we separate the spiritual from the material and see that as the norm. Heaven and earth are two separate places, although Saints represent a convergence – the Trinity – where each Saint becomes “the Son.”
We think people are born, they live and they die, which is the end of the earthly days and the beginning of the heavenly days. We think all souls go to heaven.
Solomon wrote, “In the eyes of the foolish [the souls of the righteous] seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be a disaster, and their going from us to be their destruction: but they are at peace.” We see mortal death as the ripping off of one’s bodily sin, freeing a pure soul to find endless peace.
We see a very famous scene that reflects that vision of Solomon in the Gospel of John today. Jesus returns to Bethany to find family, friends and neighbors all weeping over the death of Lazarus. They could not fathom that he was “at peace.”
“Jesus wept,” we read, but Jesus is the Saint in this picture. Jesus is not some ordinary crybaby who is not fully aware of just how “at peace” Lazarus is. Jesus shed tears because he asked his closest follower – Mary Magdalene – “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
Mary Magdalene was a Faithful Soul through belief, but the human side of Jesus was moved to tears because being a trustworthy follower and believer was not enough for her to “see the glory of God.”
You see that grace ONLY when God fills your heart and your eyes are opened as a Saint.
There is more to this story than Jesus being a showman, when “he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” Lazarus rising again was not some “dog and pony show.”
Lazarus was dead; the end of his earth time had come. The physics of decomposition had already set in – “already there is stench because he has been dead four days.”
However, the Lazarus that came out at Jesus’ command was a reborn Lazarus – Lazarus the Saint.
Jesus said, “Unbind him and let him go,” because what bound Lazarus was the death wrappings of an earthly existence. Lazarus was “let go” to serve God, through the approval of Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit. Lazarus reborn represented, as John wrote in The Revelation, “See, the home of God is among mortals … for the first things have passed away.”
Life often has a way of binding us so we feel dead inside.
I recommend you contemplate that after your bus drops you off at your intended destination, as it is important to see how Lazarus transformed from a Faithful Soul – like All Souls who are drawn to the One God [YAHWEH] are – to being a Saint.
While we must believe the event happened precisely as detailed by John, we must also be filled with the inspiration to see beyond the normal and usual. We must be able to see how Lazarus was brought back to the earthly plane as a saintly soul … through REINCARNATION.
I want to tell you a little story from my life as an end to this sermon, as food for thought.
I believe in reincarnation; but I believe that reincarnation is taught in the books of the Holy Bible, often and in ways that require the inner voice to point that out to one. I believe Jesus was the reincarnation of Adam – as the “Son of Man” bears that meaning.
I have learned that the Cathar people – pious people of France in the Twelfth century – Gnostic Christians – believed that reincarnation was the failure of a soul to release from the material binds surrounding a faithful soul, so it could become a Saint. Failure to become a Saint thus denied one access to heaven, meaning the next option was to return a soul to mortal existence … to try again.
I have long felt that I had lived before … well before I knew anything about reincarnation, from study. My “sea” of emotion made me feel that past beyond material record.
I am naturally drawn to the metaphysical, which is defined as the relationship between Mind and Matter, where the roots of Spirituality lie hidden in the first earth and first heaven realms.
I have studied metaphysical topics, such as astrology and the Tarot, and I have practiced those arts as an aid to others … with good response. Yet, I have found it quite difficult to use those gifts of interpretation on myself.
I have to seek others to help me heal my wounds; and often I do that through looking for signs, many of which come from unsolicited comments made in my presence. I feel they are intended for me hear, as a guide to where I can seek deeper understanding.
That is how I am.
I once lived near a major city where there was such a large population there was a sizable number of metaphysical “enthusiasts.” That number made it profitable enough for an organized monthly promotion, which was advertised as a “Psychic Fair.”
I never attempted to become a featured “sample,” at this Smorgasbord of psychics, Tarot readers, and palmists, which included one astrologer, an “aura photographer,” and various crystal and aroma vendors. I attended to listen for signs for myself. Still, I did not attend this every month, although I attended several times.
Psychic readers waiting for customers.
Now, I am not telling this story as a testimonial about “Psychic Fairs” or seeking “spiritual advisement” from people charging money for “readings.” As the Latin saying goes [“Caveat emptor”], “Let the buyer beware.”
I only use this background as the setting for how I received a needed message from God … one that I am still learning to understand … more and more.
The Psychic Fair was always in a large hotel, taking up the space of two meeting rooms, opened as one. The “readers” were lined along three walls, with the registration desk at the front door. Admission was $15 (to cover the overhead of the facilities), but one could purchase 15 minute time slots with specific readers, for ten dollars. Above the registrars was “the big board” that listed the readers along the top, and the time slots along the left. The event opened at noon and lasted until six, with each reader given an hour off for lunch.
Most times the readers were the “usual suspects,” being the regulars who appeared each month. Since the regulars tended to draw crowds, their 20 slots could fill up quickly, causing many patrons to be lined up before the doors opened.
I always arrived late and my twenty bucks for two readings often had me waiting and hour to get one reading, with a couple of hours to fill afterwards, before my second reading. Again, I did not take anything too seriously; and I always tried to not give any indications of what a reader might think I wanted to hear them tell me.
One day I looked up on the big board and saw the category listed for one reader as “Past Life.” I had never encountered a past life reader before, and it was a new addition in the big board’s category separations. That unfamiliarity probably was why she had few takers, with many slots still open. So, I paid ten dollars for the experience. I only had to wait until the next quarter-hour ticked off to get the reading.
The reader was a young woman, perhaps only 21 years of age. She asked me to shuffle a very large, thick deck of cards, and then cut the deck. After I did that, she flipped over a card that depicted a Chinese Emperor.
We both looked at the card and then at each other, with a pregnant pause of anticipation and hesitation. Then, the woman picked up a large hard cover book and began flipping through the pages, until she found the one explaining the Chinese Emperor card.
Just as an aside, let me point out that one did not expect a paid sampling of a “professional” psychic reading to include “on the job training,” with the “How to” manual being read as part of one’s 15 minutes.
Search the Internet and anything can come up.
Already slightly upset over the book being read to me, I interjected, “I do not have any feelings about having been Chinese in a past life.”
To the contrary, I had told several close friends in my life about my feeling of having been German and French before. It was part of the strong feelings I had about past lives, but not something I shared commonly. I certainly had said nothing to that effect to this strange young woman.
After I interjected, she said, “Oh, no. You weren’t Chinese. Your soul last left the earth plane when this emperor was installed in 1932.” She then said, “You were German military in your past life, highly decorated and honored.”
She caught me completely off-guard with the German comment, which I had felt and expressed to my close friends. I felt my fascination to World War history was related to having served on the German side. I had taken German in high school and college because of that affinity.
Then she hesitated and added, “You did not need to come back. You came back willingly.”
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“You came back to find love.” she said.
Love is physical, mental and spiritual, but as all emotions the illusion is always changing states.
My time was up. This little novice of a girl blew me away with her reading. I have not forgotten that one reading, whereas I only have slight memories of most others … insignificant readings.
What she said made so much sense to a man in his mid-life crisis, in search of female companionship … physical love.
Then, after a few years led me to being able to understand Nostradamus, I was in search of a passion quest … mental love.
Then, after a few more years led me to being able to understand Scripture, I was in love with God and Christ … spiritual love.
Now, after a few more years of seeking to please God, I feel as if I have failed him because no one hears me. I see I am in love with being in love with God … selfish love … like we just realized was Job’s limitation.
From here on out, I need to become like Lazarus, dead but risen, unbound of all the earthly wrappings that prepare one for death and blind one from seeing the ways earthly things make us stray from heaven. I need to be let go, so I can find the love of the Holy Spirit helping others, as one with my soul … sacrificial love.
We are here not as Saints, but as Faithful Souls. However, we all have either volunteered to come back to help God, evident because we are here today, gathered; or we are running away from God motionlessly, faithfully rejecting to sacrifice ourselves before others.
The call is for Faithful Souls to become sacrifices – as Lazarus was sacrificed – because we need to find the love of Sainthood upon us.
We need to understand how Jesus speaks to us, saying, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
We need to become a part of a real Church, one that truly is All Saints.
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