All Saints Day

All Saints Day
Beloved in Jesus Christ, at every Mass, there comes the point after the Lord’s Prayer, when the priest breaks the large Host into 3 pieces, one of which is placed into the chalice. What is the meaning of these 3 parts of the Sacred Host?
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According[i] to Thomas Aquinas, Pope Sergius, and others, since the Host is the Body of Christ, one of the pieces represents the Church on earth, another, represents the Church in Purgatory, and the 3rd part, placed into the Chalice represents the glorious Church in heaven. The entire Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, is composed of the Church Militant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Triumphant.
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We on earth continue the battle in the spiritual life, with many enemies, seen and unseen; we are in the spiritual combat for souls, for our soul, for heaven: and this is the Church Militant. Those who are in Purgatory, expiating their sins, being purified for heaven, this is the Church Suffering, those who are helped by our prayers, and who help us.
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Today’s great Feast has us look to the Church Triumphant. Today is All Saints Day. The saints have won the victory and now rejoice in heaven. In the Book of Revelation today, St. John gives us this vision of the glory of heaven: ‘And I saw a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, and peoples, standing before the throne in the sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands – [the palm was a sign of victory] ‘with palms in their hands they cried with a loud voice, Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. Blessing, and glory, and thanksgiving, honor, and power, and strength to our God for ever and ever.’
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The saints are rejoicing in heaven, praising God, and interceding for us as well. They have won the victory, and these great saints are an example for us. If we are tempted to fear, in the fight for our souls, we should look to these heroic models who fought hard to be virtuous in this life, and to find glory in the next.
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St. Antony of Egypt says,[ii] ‘those who compete in the Olympics are not crowned after achieving victory over their first opponent, or their second, or third, but only after they have defeated every one of their competitors. In the same way, he says, all who wish to be crowned by God must train their souls to be disciplined, and conquer all their temptations: greed, lust, envy, anger, vanity, and all the rest.
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If we feel discouraged over our battle with our failings, God has given us many great examples to help us. There are saints who died to protect their purity, such as St. Maria Goretti or St. Agatha, and there are saints who repented, and overcame their impurity. There are saints who had brilliant minds and used them to preach the gospel; and there are saints who could not even read.
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St. Alphonsus says that in heaven we will find two groups of saints praising God: the innocent ones, and the penitents; the Saint Teresa’s and St. Barbara’s – the innocent ones; and the St. Augustine’s and the St. Camillus’s, who repented. We have all the models we need, to give us hope in this warfare, this fight for holiness.
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There was once a man named Ignatius who wanted to be great in the world; he was a soldier, and dreamed of fame and honors. But in battle, his leg was shattered by a cannon ball, he spent a long time recovering in the hospital. There, they gave him some books to read about the saints, it’s all they had. While he read those books, he thought: ‘Why could I not do what St Francis did, or St Dominic? ‘The saints did these things, then I will too.’ And he did. And he was St. Ignatius of Loyola.
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Today therefore, is a day to look to our friends the saints for inspiration, who had to follow Christ each day, resisting temptation, praying, beginning again, the same as us.
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Tomorrow is All Souls Day. We pray for those in Purgatory, that they be purified of their sins and reach heaven. We can obtain a plenary Indulgence tomorrow for someone in Purgatory; we do this by visiting a Church and praying the Our Father and the Apostles Creed. And pray for the Pope. Confession within 20 days, and receive Holy Communion.
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We can also obtain a Plenary indulgence for a Holy Soul from today, November 1st, to November 8th, by visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead.
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During many days of the Liturgical year, we remember one of the saints at Mass, almost every day; the saint’s feast day usually coincides with their death, because what matters for us, is not if we have fallen or committed sins, as long as we have repented and turned our life back to Jesus Christ. What matters, is who and what we are at our death. Are we a friend of God at the end. So the saint’s feast days are usually the day of their death.
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The Blessed Virgin however, has a feast day on her birthday; this is because Mary was born a saint, she was born ‘full of grace.’ The grace of the Blessed Virgin exceeds not only each saint, but all the angels and saints put together. And so as we show our devotion to the saints today, above all, we give our heart to Mary, Queen of the saints.
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May the Lord help us to become saints, one day at a time, until our last breath on earth.
To the most Holy and undivided Trinity, to the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ crucified; to the spotless maternity of the most Blessed and glorious ever-virgin Mary, and to the whole assembly of Saints, be everlasting praise, honor, power, and glory, from every creature, and to us forgiveness of all our sins. Forever and ever.

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[Entrusted to the prayers of St. John Vianney]

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[i] Summa Theologica, III, Q. 83 a5

[ii] Philokalia, p. 340

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