At some moments I have wondered if this observance was perhaps an expression of that certain Franciscan chauvinism one encounters sometimes. What, All Saints isn't good enough for you? You need to have your own All Saints day?
But over time I've started to think of this feast as an expression of gratitude to God for the gift of the particularly Franciscan sanctity that he has given to the Church, and that catches for him the hearts of so many. In a way this thought is confirmed for me by something very plain and obvious, but which for whatever reason I never noticed before: November 29 is the anniversary of the bull Solet annuere of Honorius III, which includes the later Rule of St. Francis, which remains our rule today.
Bull of Pope Honorius III
Honorius,Bishop, Servant of the servants of God,to his Beloved Sons,Brother Francis and the other brothersof the Order of Lesser Brothers,Health and Apostolic Benediction.
The Apostolic See is accustomed to grant the pious requests and favorably to accede to the laudable desires of its petitioners. Therefore, beloved sons in the Lord, attentive to your pious prayers, We confirm with Our Apostolic Authority, and by these words ratify, the Rule of your Order, herein outlined and approved by Our predecessor, Pope Innocent of happy memory, which is as follows... (trans. FA:ED)
Old Honorius must be one of the most invoked popes in the whole of the Church Militant, given that he is mentioned by every Franciscan friar when he takes his vows.
It seems fitting that we should celebrate All Saints of the Seraphic Order on the anniversary of the confirmation and ratification of the Rule, as inextricably bound up it is--as a document and ideal--with Franciscan sanctity. It's a sanctity that once caught my mind and heart strongly enough to make me join the Franciscan Order not once, but twice. And I pray God would again use it to convert me to his will, for up until now I have done little, or nothing.