Friday, November 1, 2013

All Saints Day

One thing we hear a lot these days is we are all called to be saints. Pope Francis said it again today. I heard it at mass today. But we still don't seem to get it. People go through life with a sense that there are really holy people, really bad people, and then there is the majority of us in the middle. Yet that is precisely the view of the world being rejected. There are not three groups of people There are two. There are two destinations, heaven and hell. Purgatory exists but it is not a destination. Nobody spends eternity there. So the news of All Saints Day should rock your world. There is not majority in the mushy middle. There are just saints, who enter heaven, and the rest, who can never enter heaven.

This is good news and it is bad news. The good news is we can be holy. We don't have to look at the great saints of the church and tell ourselves I will never be like that. You can be. That is precisely what being Catholic is all about. It is not about punching a ticket and hopefully you get in. It is about being changed in the most amazing and profound way. That means you get to have a heart filled with love for everyone. It means you get to connect with God in a way that gives you profound peace. It means joy that goes deeper than any sorrow. It means you can be righteous, not a pious facade but authentic righteousness.

The bad news is not everyone is taking this trip. Why not? Partly because we have not told them how important it is and how awesome it is. So we need to do that. Not by being preachy but by being real. Still we need to be clear. The mushy middle is an illusion. It does not exist. You are either a saint or you are not.

The thing is God can't stop loving you. No matter how indifferent or even rebellious you are He keeps on loving you the way only God can. The love He showed on the cross is always there. Now if you refuse to cooperate. If you want to do your own thing. If you just have no interest in being in a love relationship with God. That will keep you out of heaven because heaven is a place where nothing impure can enter and you will not be pure. But it is worse than that. You see, God keeps loving you. Yet He stops bugging you. He stops constantly calling you to a love relationship. He stops pouring grace into you life in hopes that you will turn around and embrace Him. But He oes not stop loving you. He can't. God is love.

What is more is you continue to be made for love. So you have this love that is there and this sense deep down inside that you were made for that love. Yet you can't get there. You can't get over yourself and embrace God. You are too wrapped up in your own little addictions and ideologies and whatever else. It can't happen.

That is why the same love that bring joy to the saint and salvation to the sinner brings torment to those in hell. God does not go out of His way to punish those in hell. He just continues to be what He is. He continues to love.

So embrace that love while you can. It is offered for a finite time. We choose what we choose. We can impact the choice other make as well. It is ultimately the only thing that matters in life. We can play a part in the salvation of souls, including our own. The flip side is if we fail to play that part that can have eternal consequences as well.

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