Solemnity of All Saints
Seminarians of Conception Seminary College are our daily reflection writers for the first half of November. Every day will feature a reflection from a different seminarian. This is an opportunity for our seminarians to put their education into practice and connect with the people of God in a pastoral way.
On this Solemnity of All Saints, the readings conveniently instruct us how to become saints. According to the readings, to become a saint we must wash ourselves with the Blood of the Lamb and purify ourselves with the hope of our great reward in Heaven.
Of course, the imagery conveying the first point comes from Revelation, and it may be hard to understand what it means to wash our robes and make them white in the Blood of the Lamb. Still, we have some clearer instructions from the other readings from today. St. Paul talks about purity, which is what the color white represents in the tradition of the Church, while also associating purity with childhood. Additionally, St. Paul’s call to be children of God is a small part of Christ’s greater message in the Sermon on the Mount in today’s Gospel. Paul says that those who bring peace will be called children of God, which makes sense, for we can see peace as a consequence of greater purity. Ultimately, this purity, according to both Christ and St. Paul, gives us the grace to see God.
Today, the priest wears white vestments as a symbol of the purity that the saints manifest in their lives. They are our greatest models of living out both St. Paul’s message and the Beatitudes, with the hope of attaining the Beatific Vision to which Revelation alludes. We see the color white worn by priests at other times in the liturgical year to signify times of rejoicing in communion with the victorious saints. However, these seasons of white are always preceded by a season of violet, which signifies fasting and repentance. It is important to take notice of the sufferings and trials recorded in the lives of the saints. Although they were destined by God’s call to be saints, just as everyone is, they were conceived in guilt and born as sinners. Still, their exemplary lives filled with hopeful surrender and preparation for the vision of God is how they washed their robes white in the Blood of the Lamb. They spent their lives imitating Christ, even willing to imitate His sacrifice by giving up their lives. We, as living saints on earth, have the same call to imitate Christ and live out his Gospel. We look to the saints, who are our best models of this imitation, and we purify our hearts with hope that our robes of preparation for the Kingdom will be blessed and transformed into white robes of rejoicing and communion with Christ.
Reflection by Rendon Chambers, seminarian
Archdiocese of Oklahoma City