On All Saints’ Sunday 2020, in full confinement due to Covid, I went to 8:30 a.m. Mass. The early morning schedule will allow me to keep my distance from the other parishioners, who are fewer in number. My heart is heavy from the attack in the basilica of Nice, three days earlier, heavy with the weight of this pandemic… And now, in front of the church, I am greeted by a hedge of soldiers, assault rifles in hand. shoulder strap. How sad to need this reinforcement to go and pray! And what luck, however, to feel protected. I thank them. Funny All Saints’ Day! I enter with tears in my eyes. Mass, as always, calms me. I lay my anger before God, pray for our country, for the world. The Lord is faithful. But on leaving, the sight of the soldiers on the steps of the church plunges me back into the dark reality of the moment. Images of my cooperation in southern Lebanon at war, around twenty years ago, come back to me. I remember the relief felt when I set foot on French soil on my return: I found the land of freedom. What has become of this freedom today? My heart once again overwhelmed by sadness, I feel helpless.
In the square, a friend sees my tears and approaches. She told me that she had, during mass, an intuition which encouraged her to create with her children an exhibition of everything that recalls the saints in her house. At first surprised, I thanked him for his creativity and rejoiced: excellent idea! Arriving home, I invite my two boys aged 10 and 12 to gather candles, icons, books, comics. Abbé Pierre, Charles de Foucauld, Thérèse de Lisieux, Madeleine Delbrêl, John Paul II, my own deceased grandparents take their place with Christ and the Virgin. What beautiful people!
Yes, of course, we are not alone on this Earth facing the horror, the incomprehensible: a celestial army supports us, fights alongside us. The whole meaning of the word All Saints appears clearly to me: the saints accompany us on our earthly journey. They fought for peace, for human dignity, their memory spans the centuries and they bear witness to the victory of good over evil, they strengthen my hope. With a smile on my lips, I experience this week of All Saints’ Day under their loving, luminous and energizing gaze.