Summary: Saint John tells us we can’t be certain what we’ll be then, but we will be like Our Lord because our eyes will be so mature that we will see Him as He really is. And what a sight that will be!
All Saints’ Day 2018
The divine intent from the beginning was to make human beings in the image and likeness of God, but with a difference. We were meant to be as pure, selfless, single-minded, giving and loving as the Trinity, but to be that incarnation of God in a material world. Satan, whose name means “Adversary,” acted on our first parents to inspire rebellion, frustrating God’s original plan. But in the fullness of time, God intervened by becoming that pure, selfless, giving, loving human being Himself–Jesus Christ. And His single-minded work was to build in human flesh a community of weak, fragile human beings, adopted children of God, who would continue His work of bringing all into relationship with God. His life and death and Resurrection made it possible for us to regain our divine destiny.
When I look at myself, my daily actions, my intentions, my habits, I realize that I haven’t attained that divine status. Far from it. Although we are all children of God, we retain our weaknesses, both physical and moral. The grace of God, when we allow Him to change us, gradually strengthens and heals us of those damages. Indeed, from time to time we may even find ourselves doing good works and avoiding dangers that we simply can’t explain, other than as miracles of God. In other words, we find occasional signs that we are sinners in the process of becoming saints. We are children of God now, and like little children, we are immature, especially in the moral realm. But the grace of God grows us if we let Him, and we will grow up and become saints. Saint John tells us we can’t be certain what we’ll be then, but we will be like Our Lord because our eyes will be so mature that we will see Him as He really is. And what a sight that will be!
Each year we celebrate this solemn feast to remind ourselves of our ultimate destiny. The feast of All Hallows’ Eve–yesterday–has been commercialized and corrupted. But in its original form it allowed all of us to dress up as our favorite saint, and go around acting as he or she did. It recalled our vocation to become saints, to help others, to celebrate just being children of God.
I know that many of us will think today of a favorite saint who has been canonized. But let’s also remember those in our own lives who have inspired us to be more like Jesus, perhaps a teacher, a parent or other relative, a deceased spouse. Someone whose life was one of purity, selflessness, meekness, faith, self-giving. Someone who was very much like Jesus or Mary. We can certainly imitate them just as well, maybe better, than we can St. Francis or St. Louise, because we knew them and knew their weaknesses as well as their strengths.
Of course, tomorrow we remember those who, like ourselves, left this life in holiness, but not quite ready for the divine vision. We pray for them, because they can no longer pray for themselves. We pray that their time in purification be shortened so that they can enjoy the vision of God.
We are all members of the communion of saints–the fighters here on earth, the being-purified in Purgatory, and the triumphant in heaven. Today we celebrate that in a special way, but every other of the 365, we live it. All you saints of God, pray for us.