November 2, 2005

All Faithful Departed

Category: Communion of Saints — Micah @ 12:00 am

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Good day, and welcome to “Communion of Saints” from

I’m your host, Micah Jackson. Today is November 2nd, 2005: The Feast of All Faithful Departed.

Yesterday was the Feast of All Saints, the day we set aside to remember the most famous and most heroic believers. But in the early days of Christianity, “the saints” were considered to be all the believers in Christ, whether they were known beyond their community or not. Paul himself often addresses his correspondents with this term of endearment.

It became customary, beginning sometime around the tenth century, that the day after All Saints’ Day would be a day for remembering the less famous “saints,” the ordinary Christian men and women who lived holy lives, even if they weren’t well-known for heroic acts of charity or had been martyred for their faith. This practice fell away during the Reformation, because it was associated with masses for the dead, a practice that the Continental reformers opposed.

However, these holy men and women whose names are unknown to people in other places and times are not unknown to us. I’m sure that each of us could recite a long list of people who lived lives worthy of honor and imitation and taught us what it means to be a Christian. And let’s not forget the possibility that there are other people who think the same of you! Is there anything that you would change in your life if you believed that no less than St. Paul considers you a saint of the church, and that there are those around you today who look up to you and are modeling their lives of faith on yours? If so, what better day to make those changes than today, the Feast of All Faithful Departed.

On this feast day, I hope you will remember these people—both those who are saints to you, and those to whom you may be a saint. In the little bit of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 15:50-58) that is appointed for today, he reminds us that God sees us not as the perishable, mortal, sinful human beings we are, but as the imperishable, immortal, souls who have already won our salvation through the victory of Christ. He ends this passage, “Therefore my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” Indeed, Paul is right. In the Lord your labor, and the labor of all the faithful who have departed this life, is never in vain.

Let us pray: O God, the Maker and Redeemer of all believers: Grant to the faithful departed the unsearchable benefits of the passion of your Son; that on the day of his appearing they may be manifested as your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Thank you for listening to Communion of Saints. Please join us tomorrow at for the feast of Blessed Richard Hooker. I’m Micah Jackson. May God be with you.

Today’s Book Suggestion

For All The Saints?: Remembering The Christian Departed

Popularity: 21% [?]


  1. Great new site, Micah! I enjoyed this meditation a great deal. This Sunday your godchild will be singing “I Sing A Song of the Saints of God” with the Children’s Choir at church. I get special privileges with a deployed dh so I will be digitally videotaping it to mail to him and I’ll save you a copy as well. We love that hymn. Especially because the one verse so neatly couples the soldier and the priest side-by-side which our family finds comforting. Also because next is the one who was killed by a big fierce beast. You goddaughter wants to know who that was and I said I knew you’d know.

    Comment by Cath — November 4, 2005 @ 9:49 am

  2. Indeed, I do. There are many choices for some of the saints named. But the ones that I think of when I sing that hymn are:

    Doctor: Luke
    Queen: Margaret of Scotland
    Shepherdess on the Green: Joan of Arc

    Soldier: Ignatius of Loyola
    Priest: Martin of Tours (I think of Ignatius and Martin together because they were both soliders and priests. I, too, like the connection)
    Fierce Wild Beast: Ignatius of Antioch (or, Perpetua and Felicity if you want more women, or are afraid of confusing Loyola and Antioch)

    School, lanes, sea, church, trains, shops, tea: Fill in your own.

    Comment by Micah — November 4, 2005 @ 10:10 am

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