“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy”
The leaves are scattered on the wind and the rain. The splendor of yesterday’s golden glory lies in scattered heaps. And, yet, in the soft dying of nature’s year, when the colours of blazing reds, bright yellows and vibrant oranges have been dimmed to burnished gold, there is a gathering; a gathering into glory far greater than any spectacle of nature.
There is a gathering of the scattered leaves of our humanity, and like the gathering together “into one volume” of the scattered leaves of Sybil’s oracles, as the poet, Dante, puts it, the gathering has to do with our remembering, with the quality of our recollection. There is a gathering of scattered minds into unity and order, a unity and order which signals the redemption of our humanity in the truth of its diversity. The Feast of All Saints is the great autumnal festival of spiritual life, the great celebration of the redeemed community of our humanity.
All Saints recalls us to the spiritual community to which we belong. It signals the vocation of our humanity, both individually and collectively considered. We are called to holiness even in the face of our sinfulness.
The text which is central to this recollective gathering is at once provocative and paradoxical. It is The Beatitudes, the blessednesses, from The Sermon on the Mount. They have, it seems, an inexhaustible content that challenges us because of the quality of uncompromising objectivity.