Skip to comments.All Saints 2009
Posted on 10/29/2009 5:12:00 PM PDT by Mad Dawg
Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.
It's easy to forget sometimes that being a child of God, having the privilege of calling God our Father is itself a gift -- that you and I have no personal claims, no right to be called a "child of God" apart from the grace that comes to us in our Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that you and I have been made sons and daughters of our heavenly Father is pure gift. As it says in the Letter to the Romans: For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, "Abba, Father!"
"But," you might object, "I thought we were all God's children, brothers and sisters in one, big, happy family." That would be nice, if it were true, but unfortunately, it's not. We're all God's creation; that is true. Being a son or daughter of God by adoption is possible only in the Son, only in our Lord Jesus Christ. In Him, you and I have the privilege to call God "our Father."
The fact that you and I can do that -- that we have the privilege of calling God "our Father" in the midst of the Church -- is because of what God has done, not because of anything we have done. In Christ, we have gone from being slaves to being sons and daughters. We have been transformed from servants into beloved children of our heavenly Father. As St. John goes on to say in our second reading on this Solemnity of All Saints: Beloved, we are God's children now.
"So what?" you might say. "What difference does it make? Being a child of God hasn't made my life any easier! If this is the way He treats His friends, it's no wonder He doesn't have many of them," to paraphrase the great St. Teresa of Avila!"
I'll tell you what difference it makes: until we become aware of the gift, the completely free gift, the completely undeserved gift that has been given to us, that gift cannot be brought to fulfillment in us. Let me explain: St. John goes on to say, What we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. In order for us to reach the goal, to accomplish the end for which God made us, we have to know what that goal is. We have to know the end to which we have been called. And in Christ Jesus, that goal, that end, is nothing less than the vision of God face-to-face, eternal communion with the Living and True God.
Now, there are many people on the face of this earth who do not know that that is the goal, the end to which they are called or the purpose for which they were made -- men and women ignorant of the great dignity which is theirs, oblivious to the high calling which they have received. Others have consciously rejected that end, that purpose in life. They have refused the invitation, the offer of communion. Witness the recent campaign in the New York subway system, which claims that a million New Yorkers "are good without God." The sponsors of that campaign consciously reject God as the end, the goal of all our human striving. And if we are ignorant of the gift, or if we have consciously refused the gift, then the gift cannot be brought to fulfillment, to completion in us.
What does all this have to do with the Feast we are celebrating today, the Solemnity of All Saints? The saints are those who have allowed God to bring His gifts to completion, to fulfillment in them. They are our brothers and sisters, human beings like you and like me, who allowed God to triumph in their lives, to let God draw them towards the goal, the end for which He made them, namely Himself. But they didn't do it in ignorance or with their eyes shut. God did not save them against their will. They set their sights, they set their hearts on God, and they gave God permission to bring His good work, which He had begun in them, to completion.
The month of November has traditionally been, for us Catholics, a special time for us to remember and give thanks for all our brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone before us, because we start the month with the Solemnity of All Saints, followed the next day by our celebration of All Souls. Yes, we remember the great ones, the ones whom the Church has recognized as Saints, but we also remember our own loved ones, our own beloved dead -- some of whom might have been sitting beside us in church this time last year, the last time we celebrated All Saints and All Souls. At that time, some of our own loved ones were still on the same part of the journey that you and I are presently on. Now, far be it from me to canonize immediately all those who have gone before us and claim that all our departed loved ones are enjoying the vision of God face-to-face right now. I know myself, and I know human nature too well to think that! But I would say that it is safe to assume that some of our brothers and sisters who have died in the past year are; for some of them, God has brought His gift to completion , to fulfillment in the lives of His beloved sons and daughters. Now they rest in the eternal vision of God face-to-face. They are now enjoying the Communion of Saints, the Mystery we celebrate today.
Where do you want to be a year from now? Ten years from now? Where do you want to be for all eternity?
(I love this guy.)