The Praise of All Saints
On this Solemnity of All Saints, we do well to remember that the Sacred Liturgy has as one of its primary aims to join all of us to the great heavenly host in the one chorus of praise and adoration sung throughout eternity. This is most evident in the Mass when the priest prays, “To us, also, your servants, who, though sinners, hope in your abundant mercies, graciously grant some share and fellowship with your holy Apostles and Martyrs…” Of course, it is through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that we are joined to Christ’s body and made one not only with our Head who is Christ but also His members.
Having been made partakers of the divinity of Christ and members of His body through the Holy Eucharist, our only fitting response can be one of praise and thanksgiving. This is why the common preface of the Mass reads, “it is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.”
While it is true that the only fitting response is one of praise and thanksgiving, we must admit that even our most laudable attempts at praising God are finite and human.
But if Christ has provided the means for us to become saints through His supreme sacrifice offered on Calvary and made present at every offering of Holy Mass, then it is fitting that He would also provide us with the means of joining the chorus of saints in heaven in praising Him for his gifts and worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.
This He has done in and through the Liturgy of the Hours, the public and communal prayer of the Catholic Church. As it so beautifully states in the General Instructions,
“When the Church offers praise to God in the Liturgy of the Hours, it unites itself with that hymn of praise sung throughout all ages in the halls of heaven; it also receives a foretaste of the song of praise in heaven, described by John in the Book of Revelation, the song sung continually before the throne of God and of the Lamb... In the Liturgy of the Hours… we share in some degree the joy of everlasting praise and of that day that knows no setting (16).”
The astonishing truth is that we have been reconciled to Christ and made partakers of His divinity. We have been made members of His luminous body. But this we have been made so that we might share in the fellowship of saints in light. And the defining characteristic of this great fellowship is praise and thanksgiving.
Someone once said, “The best way to venerate the saints is to imitate them.” But we can do more than imitate them. We can share in the greatest honor of Christ’s Bride – offering the sacrifice of praise to God through the Liturgy of the Hours and thus joining the praise of all saints.