11/01/2009, 00.00
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Pope: in the communion of saints we are never alone, but among family and friends

Benedict XVI corrects the macabre interpretation of Halloween. The Feast of All Saints is a festival of solidarity. Visiting the cemeteries should be noted that the souls of the dead "are in the hands of God." He recalls the Joint Declaration of Augusta, between the World Lutheran Federation and the Catholic Church, defined by John Paul II a milestone on the difficult road of rebuilding full unity among Christians.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The "communion of saints" is a "beautiful and comforting" reality because it says that "we are never alone." This is how Benedict XVI presented the solemnity of All Saints - which is celebrated today - to the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square for the Angelus. The definition of the pope puts it in complete opposition to how this holiday has been marketed and turned into "Halloween" and in a macabre celebration of monsters and zombies, enemies of man.

"We are part of a spiritual 'company', where deep spiritual solidarity prevails: the good of each is to the benefit of all and, conversely, common happiness radiates in individuals. It is a mystery that, to some extent, we already experience in this world, in families, in friendship, especially in the spiritual community of the Church".

The pontiff recalled the ancient cult of the martyrs in the early Church, which later became that cult of all saints, "a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and tongue (Revelation 7:9)."

From these, in this Year for Priests, the Pope recalled "the Saintly priests, both those that the Church has canonized ..., and those - many, many more - who are known to the Lord."

The Pope also offered ideas to think on and live tomorrow, when we commemorate the faithful departed. "I would ask - said the pontiff – that this liturgical memory be lived in a genuine Christian spirit, that is, in light of the Paschal Mystery. Christ died and rose again and he opened the door to the house of the Father, the kingdom of life and peace. Those who follow Jesus in this life are welcomed where He came before us. So as we visit cemeteries, let us remember that there, in the tombs, are only the mortal remains of our loved ones awaiting the final resurrection. Their souls - as Scripture says – are already 'in the hands of God' (Wis 3:1). Therefore, the most proper and effective way to honour and pray for them, is by offering acts of faith, hope and charity. Tin union with the Eucharistic Sacrifice, we can intercede for their eternal salvation, and experience the deepest communion, as we wait to find ourselves together again, to enjoy forever the Love that created and redeemed us".

After the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI recalled the 10 years since the signing of the Joint Declaration of Augusta, on October 31, 1999 between the LWF and the Catholic Church, which John Paul II called "a milestone on the difficult road of reconstruction of the full unity among Christians. "

"That document - said the pope – attests to an agreement between Lutherans and Catholics on the fundamental truth of the doctrine of justification, a truth that brings us to the very heart of the Gospel and the essential issues of our lives. We are accepted and redeemed by God; our existence is part of the horizon of grace, it is led by a merciful God who forgives our sin and calls us to a new life following in the footsteps of his Son, we live by the grace of God and are called to respond to his gift, this frees us from fear and gives us hope and courage in a world full of uncertainty, anxiety, suffering".

"This anniversary - he continued - is therefore an occasion to remember the truth about the justification of man, witnessed together, to unite us in ecumenical celebrations and to further investigate this issue and others that are the subject of ecumenical dialogue. I sincerely hope that this important anniversary will help bring forward the path towards the full visible unity of all the disciples of Christ. "

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