“On this day the Church gathers the saints all together and sends up a common hymn in their honor”

God is wonderful in his saints. He will give strength and power to his people.

Consider the meaning of these prophetic words and try to understand them. The psalm says that God gives strength and power to all his people, for with God there is no partiality; nevertheless it is only in his saints that he fills us with wonder. For just as the sun pours down its rays from above abundantly upon all alike, but only those who have eyes can see them, and then only if their eyes are open, so too does God send down from above his abundant help to all, since he is the source of salvation and light, ever overflowing with mercy and goodness. Yet it is not just anyone who can so benefit from his grace and power as to practice and become perfect in virtue, or even perform miracles, but only those of good disposition, who show their faith in God and their love for him by their actions, who turn away completely from evil, cling steadfastly to God’s commandments, and raise the eyes of their minds to Christ, the Sun of Righteousness himself.

Christ not only stretches out his unseen helping hand from heaven to those engaged in the struggle, but he also encourages us in a perceptible way through the gospel words: Everyone who acknowledges me before the people, I in my turn will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. The Church of Christ honors even after their death those who have lived a truly godly life. Every day of the year it commemorates the saints who departed hence on that day, leaving this mortal life. It sets the life of each of them before us for our benefit, and also shows us how each died, whether they fell asleep in peace or ended their lives in martyrdom. On this day, however, the Church gathers them all together and sends up a common hymn in their honor.

My brothers and sisters, let us too honor the saints of God. How shall we honor them? By imitating them, by purifying ourselves from every stain of body and spirit and by ceasing to sin until, by this abstinence, we are brought to a sanctity like theirs. On these festival days at least let us offer God bodies and souls that are acceptable to him, so that we too, by the prayers of the saints, may gain a share in their glory and eternal bliss. May we all attain to this by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with his eternal Father and the most holy, good, and life-giving Spirit belongs glory now and always and for endless ages. Amen.

St Gregory Palamas

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