"Look upon the lively examples of the holy fathers, in whom true perfection and religion were most shining, see how little and almost nothing that is which we do." -- Imitation
This feast was instituted to honor God in all His Saints, there being but few of them who can have a special feast, as the number of days in the year is limited. On this day we may expect to obtain great favors, as our intercessors will be very numerous. We will also be more encouraged in -the practice of virtue by the united examples of Saints of both sexes, of all ages and conditions. We ought to remember especially that the Saints had the same difficulties as we have, and in most cases greater ones, to contend with; and that we have the same helps which enabled them to subdue their passions and to practise virtue. These helps are the merits of Christ, the inspirations of His Holy Spirit, the intercession of the Saints, the Sacraments, reading and hearing the word of God, good example, and the trials and successes of life.
We ought on this day to thank God for having provided for us a place amongst the Saints, and beg of Him all the graces necessary to secure such a happiness. Let us often, too, say with St. Ignatius: How contemptible the things of this earth when I consider those of Heaven!
The 'Lives of the Saints' are now within the reach of all, through the zeal of the Catholic Truth Society and similar organizations, and parents will do well to put these 'Lives' in the hands of their children as soon as they can read them. They ought, also, to show them the example by devoting a certain time each week to pious reading.
Saints are they who know their task,
Hold their ground by fighting firm;
Strength for life's long warfare ask,
And await its destined term.
When the tempter seeks your door,
Use the grace which God has given
If 'tis scanty, ask for more
You'll be saints yourselves in Heaven.'
Ignatius, commanding the garrison at the siege of Pampeluna, was wounded and, carried to the castle of Loyola. Finding time to weigh very heavily during his convalescence, he asked for some romances. Fortunately, there were none in the castle, so they brought him the 'Life of Christ' and the 'Lives of the Saints.' These he rejected with disgust, as his thoughts were entirely engrossed by the stirring deeds of chivalry. However, pressed by the weariness of enforced idleness, he read the books to kill time, and afterwards through curiosity. Insensibly he got an affection for them, and in a short time spent entire days absorbed in them. The first effect was admiration for the Saints' love of solitude and sufferings; then he was struck with their wisdom in seeking eternal rather than temporal goods; finally, he felt a great desire to imitate them.
'Why,' said he to himself, 'cannot I follow their example? Cannot I do what they have done? These men who had such control over themselves and their passions, were they made of bronze or stone? Were they of a different nature from me? What can the world give me as a reward for my services, for the blood I have shed? God, God alone deserves that my life be consecrated to Him. It is for Him that I will henceforth do what I have been foolishly doing for creatures up to this.'
Thus were salutary impressions made on his mind. We know how generously he corresponded with them, and how, later on, he became the founder of the great Jesuit Order, and the fruitful leader of an army of Saints.