Pope Benedict XVI greets the crowd after leading the Angelus prayer from the window of his apartment overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Nov. 1, the feast of All Saints. The pope said All Saints’ Day “reminds us of our eternal destiny, where we will dwell” in total fulfillment and joy. He prayed that people would “strongly believe in eternal life and feel in true communion with our departed loved ones.” (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The feast of All Saints should prompt Catholics to believe more deeply in eternal life, Pope Benedict XVI said.

The day “reminds us of our eternal destiny, where we will dwell, as St. Thomas Aquinas says, in true and perfect light, total fulfillment, everlasting joy and gladness without end,” he said Nov. 1, reciting the Angelus on the feast of All Saints.

He urged people to “believe more strongly in eternal life and feel in true communion with our departed loved ones,” who will be commemorated on the feast of All Souls, Nov. 2.

“May the intercession of all the saints lead us and our departed loved ones to our everlasting home in heaven,” he told the pilgrims who gathered under stormy skies for the midday prayer in St. Peter’s Square.

The feast of All Saints includes a celebration of the holy men and women, “whom only God knows,” but who have not officially been proclaimed saints; they made Christ present in their lives and carried out God’s will, the pope said.

The saints show that “being united to Christ, in the church, does not negate one’s personality, but opens it up, transforms it with the power of love and confers on it an eternal dimension here on earth,” he said.

By becoming united to Christ, people also join in communion with all members of his mystical body, the church, “a communion that is perfect in ‘heaven,’ where there is no isolation, no competition or separation,” the pope said.

“On today’s feast we get a taste of the beauty of this life fully open to the gaze of love of God and neighbor, in which we are sure to reach God and one another in God,” he said.

“In the saints we see the victory of love over selfishness and death; we see that following Christ leads to life and eternal life, and gives meaning to the present … because it is filled with love and hope,” he said.

— By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service