All Saints' Day, also known as All Hallows' Day, Hallowmas, Feast of All Saints, or Solemnity of All Saints, is a Christian festival celebrated in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. In Western Christianity, it is celebrated on 1 November by the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Methodist Church, the Lutheran Church, and other Protestant churches.
Our English word "saint," derived from the Latin sanctus, is used in a variety of ways. Literally it means holy, set apart for God, consecrated, or dedicated. In the New Testament, hagios, the Greek word for saint, is used to refer to all baptized Christians, many of whom were far from exemplary. Paul sometimes scolded the saints for their corrupt and decadent ways.
When we use the word saint in the context of All Saints's Day, we refer especially to those Christians who have lived such hallowed lives, yielding so fully to the Holy Spirit, showing such love for God and his human creatures, that their examples are treasured and emulated. These individuals are the champions of Christ and his church and the heroes of the faithful.
Christian celebration of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day stems from a belief that there is a powerful spiritual bond between those in heaven (the "Church triumphant"), and the living (the "Church militant"). In Catholic theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. It is a national holiday in many historically Catholic countries. In Methodist theology, All Saints Day revolves around "giving God solemn thanks for the lives and deaths of his saints", including those who are "famous or obscure". As such, individuals throughout the Church Universal are honoured, such as Paul the Apostle, Augustine of Hippo and John Wesley, in addition to individuals who have personally led one to faith in Jesus, such as one's grandmother or friend.
Help us to take seriously our own vocation as saints, as the holy ones of God. Amen.
Read the Wikipedia article here.