Feast of All Saints
A hymn for all His Saints...
for the people that is nigh unto Him
(Vespers Antiphon, from Ps. 148.14)
Christian Doctrinal Instruction: The "Church"
The word ecclesia (church) means "a calling forth". But writers afterward used it to signify a meeting or assembly, whether the people gathered together were members of a true or of a false religion. In common Scriptural usage, however, the word was subsequently employed to signify the Christian society only, and the assemblies of the faithful; that is, of those who are called by faith to the light of truth and knowledge of God, that having forsaken the darkness of ignorance and error, they may worship the living and true God piously and holily, and serve Him from their whole heart.
"Called by faith...," that is, moved by God's grace. God... hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the Saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love... (Col. 1.12,13).
"... To the light of truth and knowledge of God," that is, the supernatural belief (not the self-stimulation of the "Bible-only" sectarians to a despairing confidence in Christ: 'Just believe'; nor the immanent religious need of the Modernists) in Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who Is the image of the invisible God, which is the beginning of eternal life in us. He that believeth in Me hath eternal life. For eternal life consists in seeing God immediately as He sees Himself, and in loving Him as He loves Himself. Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall. We know that when it shall appear we shall be like to Him, for we shall see Him as He Is (1 Jn. 3.2).
"... That having forsaken the darkness of ignorance and error...," that is, our first conversion. I will pour out upon you clean water... And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit... and I will cause you to walk in My commandments (Ezech. 36.25). St. Paul writes similarly: God... hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the Saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness [from the dominion of the devil through sin], and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Col. 1.12,13). Again, St. Paul writes but more categorically: Not the effeminate nor the impure nor thieves and covetous nor drunkards nor railers nor extortioners shall possess the kingdom of God. And such some of you were. But you are washed; but you are sanctified; but you are justified; in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God (1 Cor.6.10, cf., also Rom. 1.26-32).
"... Worship the true God piously and holily," that is, that worship due to and becoming the true God as He has ordained it: Look, and make it according to the pattern... shewn in the mount (Ex. 25.40), cf., our posts "The Catholic Sanctuary Prefigured in the Old Testament" (parts I and II).
"... Serve Him from their whole heart," that is, devoting our selves to the one thing necessary - our need of second conversion.
A blessed Feast to all!