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Beatitudes are a guide to saintly living, says Bishop Burbidge at All Saints’ Day Mass

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The saints were “people like us, with strengths and weaknesses,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge at a Mass for the solemnity of All Saints Nov. 1 at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington.

In his homily, he said the saints “experienced blessings and hardships, had different backgrounds and personalities, and had moments when their faith was strong and times when it was weak. Yet, through it all and with the Lord’s divine assistance, they persevered in uniting themselves to him; doing his holy will and loving and serving God and one another.”

Bishop Burbidge referred to the Oct. 30 diocesan pilgrimage, noting that a pilgrimage “is a powerful reminder that we who journey together in faith in this world are heading, with the Lord’s help, to the same final destination: life with him forever in heaven, in the company of all the saints whose memory we honor today. We also remember at this Mass, and especially again tomorrow on All Souls’ Day, our beloved family members and friends who have died, who provided us with saintly examples throughout their lives, and remain for us a source of inspiration.”

Bishop Burbidge said that Jesus shows us the path to saintly living in the Beatitudes, where he refers to those who are considered blessed: “the merciful, the peacemakers, the meek, the pure of heart, those who suffer for their faith but never abandon it and those who mourn but never lose hope. When he looks at us, he longs to see those same qualities.”

He said “the good news is that we do not have to depend on our own efforts as we strive to live the Beatitudes and grow in holiness. The Lord is with us, especially as we listen to his word and celebrate the sacraments. He also gives us the saints to guide us and to intercede for us.”

Bishop Burbidge urged those in attendance to “call to mind one of your favorite saints and the virtues you admire the most in his or her life, and strive daily to imitate them, with the prayer that as your pilgrimage here on earth ends and the Lord calls you to himself, you will hear the words: ‘Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven!’ ”

This year, All Saints was not a holy day of obligation in the United States, because the solemnity fell on a Monday. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops decided to eliminate the obligation to attend Mass when this solemnity (along with the feasts of Mary, Mother of God Jan. 1 and the Assumption Aug. 15) falls on a Saturday or Monday. The Holy See approved the decree in 1992. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021