In the Gospel for All Saints Day Jesus names the beatitudes – that is “be attitudes” – attitudes of being – ways of acting. These are not laws. Instead they are named as guides for us as we journey through life. On All Saints Day we celebrate the feast of “a great multitude, which no one could count from every nation, race, people and tongue” (Revelation 7:9)
Some of the great multitude we knew. They were our parents, siblings, friends, Dominican Sisters. Just recently, several of our Dominican sisters of Peace joined this great multitude. This great multitude also includes people unknown to us – the innocent victims of war or violence, faithful parents who raised their children to live authentic lives, and then lived to a ripe old age, those who died of disease before living a full life, and so many more. The list goes on and on.
This great multitude are those who took the beatitudes seriously. In one way or another, they lived them. Some were known to be meek – slow to anger and quick to forgive. Others hungered for righteousness, marched and wrote letters to change unjust situations. Still others were peacemaker in his/her family. Many were persecuted for the sake of justice. Their attitudes and the way they lived during their lives on earth may not have made headlines. But God knew of their mercy or peacefulness or justice seeking. God called them to their reward of the fullness of heaven.
These beatitudes, bring us to today, All Saints Day. We remember those we knew who have died; we add those unknown, all who have not been officially canonized by the Church. We thank them for their lives. We thank them for their example.
But it can’t end there. We too are called to live as Jesus taught. We too are called to be peacemakers, clean of heart, merciful. We too are challenged to live the beatitudes – attitudes of being – ways of acting.
The question to ponder might be; for what beatitude will you be remembered?