Lund, Sweden, Nov 1, 2016 / 04:44 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The saints of the Church have many different qualities, but one thing that unites them all is a sense of joy, Pope Francis said in his All Saints Day Mass in Sweden.
“If there is one thing typical of the saints, it is that they are genuinely happy,” the Pope said in his homily Nov. 1, All Saints Day.
The saints, he said, “found the secret of authentic happiness, which lies deep within the soul and has its source in the love of God. That is why we call the saints blessed.”
He then pointed to the Beatitudes, explaining that they are both the path saints take as well as their final goal: “the Beatitudes are the way of life that the Lord teaches us, so that we can follow in his footsteps.”
Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Swedbank Stadium in Malmö on the last day of his Oct. 31-Nov. 1 visit to Sweden for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
He participated in a joint prayer service and ecumenical encounter to commemorate the Reformation on the day of his arrival. The event also serves as a recognition of 50 years of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation.
After celebrating Mass, Pope Francis will have an official farewell ceremony and board the plane back to Rome.
In his homily, the Pope said that the celebration of All Saints Day in the Church is “a celebration of holiness” seen not so much in great gestures or events, but rather “in daily fidelity to the demands of our baptism.”
This holiness “consists in the love of God and the love of our brothers and sisters. A love that remains faithful to the point of self-renunciation and complete devotion to others,” he said, and pointed to the many sacrifices mothers and fathers make for their children, as an example.
Francis then pointed to the Beatitudes, saying they are the image of Christ and consequently “of each Christian.”
Referring specifically to the Beatitude “Blessed are the Meek,” the Pope said this “spiritual portrait” shows us the abundance of God’s love. Meekness, he said, “is a way of living and acting that draws us close to Jesus and to one another.”
“It enables us to set aside everything that divides and estranges us, and to find ever new ways to advance along the path of unity,” he said, and mentioned St. Mary Hasselblad and St. Bridget of Vadesta as examples of people who “worked to create bonds of unity and fellowship” among Christians.
Pope Francis also noted now the joint commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is taking place in Sweden, a country marked by the coexistence of people from different religions and cultures.
The saints, he said, “bring about change through meekness of heart. With that meekness, we come to understand the grandeur of God and worship him with sincere hearts.”
He said the Beatitudes “are in some sense the Christian’s identity card,” because they identify us as followers of Jesus.
“We are called to be blessed, to be followers of Jesus, to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus. Thus we ought to be able to recognize and respond to new situations with fresh spiritual energy.”
Francis closed his homily saying that the saints “spur us on by their lives and their intercession before God,” and stressed that each of us needs one another if we are also to become saints.
“Together let us implore the grace to accept this call with joy and to join in bringing it to fulfillment,” he said, and entrusted to Mary, Queen of All Saints, “our intentions and the dialogue aimed at the full communion of all Christians, so that we may be blessed in our efforts and may attain holiness in unity.”
After Mass Pope Francis was greeted by Bishop Anders Arborelius, OCD of Stockholm before leading pilgrims in praying the Angelus.
In his brief address before the prayer, the Pope thanked all who helped to organize and plan his visit, specifically the Lutheran World Federation and greeted the different ecumenical delegations present.
“I thank God that I was able to visit this land and to meet with you, many of whom have come from all over the world,” he said, explaining that as Catholics, “we are part of a great family and are sustained in the same communion.”
He encouraged them to live their faith in prayer and the sacraments, as well as in service to those who are suffering and needy.
“I urge you to be salt and light, wherever you find yourselves, through the way you live and act as followers of Jesus, and to show great respect and solidarity with our brothers and sisters of other churches and Christian communities, and with all people of good will,” he said.
Pope Francis then turned to Mary and asked for her protection. He also asked Mass attendees to pray for him, saying, “I keep you all very present in my own.”