For ALL the Saints (including the babies)


I think I've uncovered one of the reasons that I love All Saints' Day so much.  
Part of it is that the saints have done so so much for me in my life.  They have provided me prayers, miracles, an ideal, motivation, and friendship.  Honoring and thanking them on this day and making sure that this day far eclipses any secular celebration of Halloween seems like the appropriate approach for me as a Catholic.  But there is another reason I love it so much.

This day is for ALL the saints, both known and unknown, who are now in the full Presence of the Trinity.  We remember all of them.  We even name it a Solemnity it is so important.  Our Church remembers every single Joe Schmo who made it, who fought the good fight and who has now won the race.  We remember that we little Joe Schmos still fighting can also do it, too.  And why I love it most?  Because it means that those little ones who were lost to us here on earth, Baptized by desire, are also celebrated by the universal Body of Christ.

My Joseph Mary is a saint and that means today is his feast, too.

So today I celebrate that little one whose days in this life were brief but who now lives forever in the Presence of God.  I remember that the suffering, the pain, and the grief of that loss were worth it for the sake of another soul in heaven.  I thank God that His mercy extends beyond the limits of my imagination and that He welcomes all those little ones.  I'm grateful for a Church that recognizes their dignity and worth.  

Let us remember all the saints today.  And if you have a little saint of your own, take hope and joy and consolation in the recognition that this feast is for that precious little one, too.  

May all the saints, especially those precious little babies lost to us on earth, pray for our families until we can meet them again.

Happy ALL Saints' Day!

(Painting by Albrecht Durer 1511)

8 comments

  1. This was beautifully put, Mary. Thank you.

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  2. We've been saying since yesterday, "Happy feast of All Saints Known and Unknown!" I have a little Felicity and Isidore to celebrate today. It's a truly hopeful occasion.

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  3. Reading this was just what I needed today. Sure I got a little teary but I when I talked to my eldest about his little baby brother and how this is his feast day, his eyes got so wide and attentive that I was deeply moved.

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  4. Mary, I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but how are you so sure that miscarried children are saints and in heaven? I just don't feel confident myself saying that since the Church herself does not know or say for certain what happens to unbaptized babies - if the Church can't say for sure, how can I feel like I know better than the Church? I'm not questioning your belief, just wondering why you feel so certain of it, if that makes sense.

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    1. I know, it's tough. The Church states that we can entrust the souls of unbaptized infants to the mercy of God and there is even a funeral rite for them. I think that is as close as She can come to saying they are there without introducing the idea that Baptism is not necessary (I'm sure a good theologian could say it much better!) One thing I trust about the mercy of God is that it is endless and that He would never hold a soul accountable for truths they were never taught. Reading St. Faustina's diary is so insightful to how fathomless and unbound is that mercy. I also think the Baptism of Desire plays into this, too. If the parents *would have* Baptized the child had they known the baby was in danger and want that Sacrament for the child, the graces of the Sacrament are present. After we found out we lost Joseph Mary and he was still in my womb, I had my husband do a conditional Baptism over him. I don't know how legit that was but I do know it expressed to God our deep desire to have this baby Baptized and with Him and I feel a peace that He would honor that as his parents. Does that make sense? I guess there is no way to KNOW know until we hopefully get there, too, but I have faith in that endless mercy of God.

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    2. Mandi, I had the same reaction. I hesitated even commenting because I did not agree with this at all.
      A priest friend of ours and my husband, the theologian, explained it pretty well: when any death occurs the only safe and true place to be is in hope. We should not ever despair that a soul is lost nor ever presume that a soul is in Heaven. The first insults Divine Mercy and the second is an insult to Divine Justice.
      The Church not only doesn't but it CAN'T say that unbaptized children (or adults) are in Heaven. That denies Original Sin and its damnation. Baptism by desire came about as a term for the hope that catechumens would not be damned if they died before their baptism (ie died on the way to their baptism).
      For what it is worth, originally the Pope and church leaders were opposed to abortion on the grounds that it denies a soul the chance to Heaven.

      Hopefully this didn't come across as mean, that is not my intention at all. I, too, have lost a child and I hope that God's mercy extends to little Louise but God is also a Just God and I would not presume that anyone is in Heaven unless The Church has canonized that person. The Church is infinitely more wise than me and I would prefer to follow Her declarations on the matter.

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    3. I really appreciate both your perspectives. I would never ever want to overstep the Church in anything and I am certainly not trying to make a Church declaration or take Her words out of context. I take great comfort in this from the Catechism: "Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament." As well as further along when She says: "Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism." (CCC 1257, 1261)

      So could I be wrong? Yes. But I am "hoping for a way of salvation" and trusting in His infinite mercy. I'm not sure it's something that is likely to harm my soul to hope for the best and have that strengthen my desire to get there as well. I think it's similar to someone who is on their death bed who has received Last Rites. While we don't *know* that they're in heaven, we know from extrapolating the teachings of our Faith that it is likely they are. I think the same way about our little ones.

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    4. I have to say I agree with Mary. So much of what I have read about His Mercy, as described by God Himself to St. Faustina testifies to this. Even God said His GREATEST attribute is His mercy!

      "Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with mercy." (Diary, 301)

      And to the soul of the mother who has lost the baby, consider what Our Lord says here:

      Tell [all people], My daughter, that I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls." (Diary, 1074)

      And no matter how great the sin, God's Mercy is ALWAYS greater...

      "[Let] the greatest sinners place their trust in My mercy. They have the right before others to trust in the abyss of My mercy. My daughter, write about My mercy towards tormented souls. Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy. Write: before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice..." (Diary, 1146)

      I would entrust all of the souls of our lost little ones to his infinite mercy. And what great hope and consolation we have in that!


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