Solemnity of All Saints
ALL SAINTS DAY is connected to the doctrine of The Communion of Saints. This is the Catholic teaching that all of God’s people, on heaven, earth and in Purgatory are spiritually connected and united. In other words, Catholic and Orthodox Christians believe that the saints of God, are just as alive, as those on earth and are constantly interceding on our behalf. Our connection with the saints in heaven is grounded in an eucharistic communion. Because of our common communion with and through Jesus Christ, our prayers are joined with the heavenly community of Christians.
St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387), testifies to this belief: “We mention those who have fallen asleep, first the patriarchs, prophets, apostles and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition..” Catechetical Lecture 23:9
The Catholic Catechism concisely describes this communion among believers, by which we are connected to Christ and thus to one another:
“Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness… They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us… So, by their fraternal concern, our weakness is greatly helped.”
“…as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace and the life of the People of God itself. We worship Christ as God’s Son, we love the martyrs as the Lord’s disciples and imitators and rightly so, because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we also be their companions and fellow disciples.” CCC 956, 957
There are thousands of Canonised saints, that is, those individuals officially recognised by the Church as holy men and women worthy of our imitation. Because miracles have been associated with them and their lives have been fully examined and found holy by the Church, we have assurance they are prime examples of holiness and powerful intercessors before God on our behalf.
All Souls' Day
In the Roman Catholic Church, the next day, All Souls’ Day, specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven. Catholics celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those in the state of grace who have died and are either being purified in purgatory or are in heaven (the ‘church penitent’ and the ‘church triumphant’, respectively) and the ‘church militant’ who are the living.
What must we to do in order to join the company of the saints in heaven?
We "must follow in His footsteps and conform [our]selves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things. [We] must devote [our]selves with all [our] being to the glory of God and the service of [our] neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good, as is admirably shown by the life of so many saints in Church history" Lumen Gentium, 40