Today we celebrate All Saints Day. Celebrated on November 1, this feast of the Catholic Church reminds us of Jesus' instruction to "be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5:48). For who are the saints, but those who have lived their lives close to God, and as perfectly as possible.
The saints are those who dwell in heaven with God, including the Old Testament Patriarchs, the Apostles, the martyrs of the early church (and modern times) and all those who gave witness to Christ in their lives. (see Pope Benedict's homily from All Saints Day 2006).
Why do we honor the saints? Do they need our honor? No, but we do. We need to remember them so that we may imitate them and one day join them in heaven in the presence of God. As Pope Benedict states in his homily, "The example of the Saints encourages us to follow in their same footsteps and to experience the joy of those who trust in God, for the one true cause of sorrow and unhappiness for men and women is to live far from him."
May all the saints pray for us and lead us to heaven by their examples.