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Reflection: All Saint’s Day

I love saints. They are the spiritual superheroes of our church. The glorious
communion of saints provides us with access to a massive list of prayer partners
who pray with us and pray for us. The list includes the official "greats" of our
church history. It also includes family and friends whose holiness and love directly
touched and enriched our lives. We all have our favorite saints we relate to and
who inspire us.

I need these heavenly models of holiness. I also need earthly models of holiness.
Saints are all around us, women and men whose generous spirit reflects the
Gospel call to love and serve God and others. Some do it by making the ordinary
holy through a spirit of simplicity and humility. Some do it by showing
extraordinary courage in sickness and adversity. Some do it by railing against
injustice and working to bring equality and dignity to all.

One of the messages from the Synod of Bishops for the new evangelization is the
call to holiness. This sounds overly simplistic and obvious, but it is at the root of all
we do as a church and as the People of God. Of course, we all have different ideas
of holiness. Monday's Gospel reading invites us into the beatitudes, that
wonderful litany of "Blessed are." In the beatitudes, holiness is equated with
being poor in spirit, meek, mourning, hungering for righteousness, merciful, and
clean of heart.
Reflection: All Soul’s Day
All Soul's Day is also referred to as the day of the dead and it is held on the second
day of November. This is a Roman Catholic day to remember all the dead friends
and relatives. All Soul's Day was derived from the ancient Festival of the Dead
celebrated by the Pagans. The Festival of the dead was celebrated since the
Pagans believed that the souls of the dead friends and loved ones would come
back to have a meal on the table with the family. The souls were guided back
home by the candles in the windows. The food was donated to feed those who
lacked and also children from the village came asking for food which was offered
as a symbol to please the dead.

The church has put All Soul's Day purposely on a day that follows All Sain't Day.
This is with the intention of shifting attention from souls in heaven to those in
purgatory. The All Saint's Day is marked to remember the saints and glories
associated with heaven while the All Soul's Day reminds the living human beings
of the need to lead holy lives and the belief that the souls of people destined to
heaven will undergo purification even after death. This state of purification of the
dead souls before going to heaven is referred to as purgatory.

The All Soul's Day. Therefore is a Christian holiday where the living has the
obligation to pray for dead Christians whose souls are in purgatory. Christians
believe that the souls in purgatory, just like those who are alive, should undergo
suffering so that their sins can be forgiven. In this regard, praying for their souls
helps to reduce the suffering before they are received in heaven. In addition,
Christians believe that prayers and good works of the living church members help
the souls of the departed relatives and friends.
The Miraculous Medal (Story)

On the afternoon of November 27, 1830, a Daughter of Charity, St. Catherine


Labouré, was praying in a chapel in Paris, when she had a vision. The Virgin Mary
appeared to her holding in her hands a globe illuminated by rays that came out of
her hands. The globe represented the earth, as Mary wanted it, without ills or
suffering, full of light and well-being for her children, the mankind. The Virgin was
standing on another globe surrounded by a snake to which Mary stepped on her
head. This globe also represents the earth, but the earth possessed by the serpent
of evils, wars, attacks, oppressions, injustices, so common then as now in this
world and the Virgin wants to tear them away. Surrounding the image were
twelve stars and the invocation “Oh Mary conceived without sin, pray for us that
we come to you!” The image rotated like a medal and behind it appeared the
letter M holding a cross, and below, two hearts, one crossed by a sword and the
other surrounded by a crown of thorns. Saint Catherine heard a voice inside her
saying: “Order a medal according to this model. Whoever carries it with faith will
receive abundant graces. The rays that come from my fingers are the graces I give
to those who ask them.” These scenes were recorded in a medal that spread
throughout the world. It is the most widespread Medal on earth. From it, billions
have been coined and distributed! Not many years ago, people asked for it
because they recognized the miracles it did. So many that, not having a name, the
same people called it “Miraculous Medal.”
The Miraculous Medal (Reflection)

1. We need to rekindle trust in the Miraculous Medal, because even today the
serpent of evil seems to suffocate the world: natural catastrophes, such as
hurricanes or earthquakes that devastate the poorest, wars in the Middle
East and Africa, attacks, oppressions to the weak and excluded, migrants to
whom hunger drags to diing in barbed wire or in the sea, unemployment
and injustices. And the rulers are unable to find a solution. It only remains
to trust God and Mary, because it seems that only a divine intervention, a
miracle can fix this planet: the miracle of solidarity and love.
2. The Miraculous Medal has relevance, not as an amulet used by magic. The
Medal is neither an amulet nor does it have any magic. What passes
through the Miraculous Medal is a trust in the power of God and in the love
of our Mother. Nor is the Medal an antique, the fruit of childlike piety or of
pious women. Men today also wear medals in the form of badges to
indicate which is their soccer team or their political party. Whoever wears
the Miraculous Medal, besides being a prayer to Mary, wants to
commemorate the visit that the Virgin made to St. Catherine; and wants to
confess that he/she is his son; wants to manifest to the people that belong
to the Miraculous Medal club where all the partners are in solidarity with
each other, giving meaning to life and an objective for which it is worth
living with trust in oneself, in others and in God.
Doctor to the Poor (Reaction Paper)

Giuseppe Moscati, “the holy physician of Naples,” was a medical doctor and
layman in the early 20th century who came from an aristocratic family and
devoted his medical career to serving the poor. He was also a medical school
professor and a pioneer in the field of biochemistry whose research led to the
discovery of insulin as a cure for diabetes.

Moscati regarded his medical practice as a lay apostolate, a ministry to his


suffering fellowmen. Before examining a patient or engaging in research he would
place himself in the presence of God. He encouraged his patients to receive the
sacraments. Dr. Moscati treated poor patients free of charge, and would often
send someone home with an envelope containing a prescription and a 50-lire
note.

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 1906, Dr. Moscati evacuated a nursing home in
the endangered area, personally moving the frail and infirm patients to safety
minutes before the roof of the building collapsed. He also served beyond the call
of duty during the 1911 cholera epidemic and treated some 3,000 soldiers during
World War I.

Moscati was outspoken in his opposition to the unfair practices of nepotism and
bribery that often influenced appointments at that time. He could have pursued a
brilliant academic career, taken a professorial chair and devoted more time to
research, but he preferred to continue working with patients and to train interns.

Giuseppe Moscati died in 1927 at 46 yrs old, was beatified in 1975 and declared a
saint by Pope John Paul II in 1987. His feast day is November 16.