Today we commemorate all those who have passed into heaven and now worship before the throne of God. Some of their life stories have been etched into our memories, but many more remain known only to God. Yet no matter how famous or how hidden they were, they all perform an invaluable service to us, a service visible in today’s first reading and described more fully in the Letter to the Hebrews.
Saint John recounts his vision of a “great multitude” gathered before the throne of God in worship (Revelation 7:9). And the unknown author of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us that this multitude also surrounds us as a great “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1). Imagine being in a sports stadium, running a race. Imagine all these saints sitting in the stands cheering you on. Imagine God himself enthroned at the finish line, both enjoying the saints’ worship and joining them in giving you words of hope and encouragement. With so many fans and with so much spiritual power behind you, how could you not win the race?
Every day, the saints surround us, encouraging us to run the race of faith. They’re always on our side, showing us what it’s going to be like when we, like them, inherit God’s promise of eternal life. Every day, they tell us that we really can receive all that they have received. We just have to keep our eyes fixed on the finishing line, just as they did.
As we continue to run the race, each of us can experience a dim reflection of the full glory that awaits us. And every day, we can make that dim reflection a bit clearer, until we finally cross the finishing line. With God’s grace, and with the saints’ encouragement, we too can know the glory and the love that all the saints now know.
All the Saints of heaven, pray for us.