All Saints’ Day

“When the Saints go marchin’ in, O Lord, I want to be in that number, when the Saints go marchin’ in!”

Really, we do want to be numbered among the Saints, the Holy Ones, we who have seen a glimpse of the larger existence, the larger meaning of life. Bishop James often says that we are here to make more Saints. “I desire to know in order to serve” should be our goal, our watchwords.

I have been studying Geoffrey Hodson’s Occult Diary, Light of the Sanctuary (and yes, I quoted from it last month, too-I have still not finished the book as I am stretching it out to about only five or six pages at a time-it is just so full of meaningful things to ponder). This week I found something that I copied out and will use daily, thrice daily actually. An Adept gave this meditative prayer to be used for someone who deeply needed healing, and for me it was just what I needed to hear:

Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ, I offer myself and my life to You. May Your Divine Power and Wisdom enlighten me and strengthen me to live my life on behalf of others in Thy Holy Name. Amen.

The Adept continued, “Say to the person: ‘Instead of struggling with your life in your own hands alone, place yourself and your life in the service of God and His Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord.’ Advise that the person try to maintain this meditative discipline, not, of course, in words alone, but very sincerely and truly in dedicated devotion to Our Lord. This is her true salvation, namely to cease from living her life as turned inward upon herself alone but instead increasingly turned outward, as a true servant of Our Lord, the Blessed Savior of the World.”

Too often we focus on ourselves and on our perhaps minimal but magnified problems. The best way to counteract that is to focus on others, put others’ needs first. Listen and pay close attention to what others ask, to what others share with us, and then do whatever is in our power to fulfill their needs. This is what all the Saints who have gone before us have done. I am not too up on how people are designated Saints, but I am sure that none of them achieved Sainthood by being selfish or self-centered. Our Lord Christ Himself could never be accused of that, and He is our pattern of selfless service, after all.

Today’s gospel from Matthew ends with the words that should be ingrained in all of our hearts:

”...inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Today is also the twenty-first Sunday after Trinity, with the intent of Perseverance. That dovetails very nicely with All Saints Day, for no Saint could have reached that holy state without demonstrating the sterling quality of perseverance, too. The epistle for Perseverance from Saint Paul to the Ephesians is quite descriptive, and I would like to share that here, as it was not read earlier.

My sisters and brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the adversary. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against, powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day and, having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate of righteousness and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, watching thereunto with all perseverance.

This epistle rather echoes the ideas put forth in my favorite hymn, number 52, “I Will Go in the Strength of the Lord.” A few of those verses go:

His Wisdom shall guard me from harm,
His Power hovers ever above;
I trust His omnipotent arm,
I rest in the glow of His Love.
I will go in the Strength of the Lord
To each conflict which truth may require;
And His Love, as my shield and reward,
My courage and zeal shall inspire.
If He give the word of command
To meet and to vanquish His foe
I will take up my life in my hands-
In the Strength of the Lord I will go.

The epistle and the hymn both paint a rather militant picture, and that is perhaps not a bad thing, even for us peaceful worshippers, for we do need to keep a constant vigil out for “spiritual wickedness in high places.” Elsewhere in Matthew, Jesus exhorted His disciples to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Speak up and peaceably do what you are able to do to right wrongs. Jesus Himself did just that when he chased the moneychangers out of the Temple.

Returning to All Saints’ Day, Bishop C. W. Leadbeater has a short chapter on All Saints in his book, The Hidden Side of Christian Festivals, and I would like to close with a bit from that. He says:

On All Saints’ Day we celebrate the vast host of holy men and women who have not been sufficiently conspicuous to have a special day assigned to them-who have lived beautiful and helpful lives which, though undoubtedly recognized by God, did not attract the attention of those officials of the Church who were charged with the duty of recommending those for canonization. There must be many thousands of these unknown heroes of the faith-yes, of all faiths-who are just as worthy of our gratitude and our recognition as those whose names have been preserved through the ages.

And so, when we think of the saints as forever in the Presence, we must understand that they are not confined to a particular spot, but that wherever they may be and on whatsoever plane they may be functioning “their Angels do always behold the face of our Father who is in heaven.” The true Self on its own plane is always consciously in the direct presence of the Deity.

There is no special place for we are all in that presence here and now; it is only that we have not yet learnt, as the saint has, to be fully conscious of it. Even the saint may have that consciousness but rarely and imperfectly in the physical brain; but in the Higher Self he or she has it always. Therefore it is true to say of the holy saints:

Now they reign in heavenly glory,
Now they walk in golden light;
Now they drink as from a river
Holy bliss and infinite.

The feebleness and insufficiency of all these symbolical expressions must not blind us to the infinitely glorious truth of the Communion of Saints.

Be very sure that as the Christ Himself exists, as the Hierarchy of His holy Angels exists, so also exists the Great White Brotherhood, the Communion of the Saints. Well may we thank God at this great festival for the example, the encouragement, and the help of these glorious ones; may we so follow them in all virtuous and godly living that to us also may soon come the ineffable happiness of being conscious channels of His eternal love.

And now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three Persons in one God, be ascribed, as is most justly due, all honor, power, might, praise, majesty, dominion, now, henceforth, and forevermore. Amen.

Judie A. C. Cilcain

November 1, 2009

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