Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sunday of All Saints

"He that loveth father or mother, son or daughter, more than me is not worthy of me," said our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is indeed one our our Lord's "hard sayings:" for it runs counter (against the grain) to our deepest natural instincts. These instincts, however, are not truly natural, since they are a product of our fallen human nature. This is why the Kingdom of Heaven must be "taken by storm". Only the violent (those who do violence against their fallen human nature) are worthy to enter the Kingdom.

The truth is, our human love, however exalted it may feel, will always be imperfect, tainted by our egotism, unless we love God first and foremost. Our love for God must overshadow and transcend every love that is merely human. It is, in fact, this all-consuming love for God that is the distinguishing mark of sainthood, setting the saints apart from the rest of us. Paradoxically, however, it is precisely through this love of God that a saint is enabled to love all persons, even their enemies, and to pray with compassionate hearts for all who suffer.

In both the Greek and Russian languages, the word for "saint" means "holy." This is because a saint by definition is someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Thus, since God is love, it is only natural that the saints should be known above all for their love. It is love alone that empowers the martyrs to die for the sake of Christ, and it is for the sake of love that the ascetics accomplish their feats.

It is for this reason that St. Paul places love above faith and hope as "the greatest of these." Apart from love, all other gifts are nothing more than "tinkling cymbols and sounding brass."
This all-consuming love for God is truly the natural state for all humanity, the ultimate goal to which we should all aspire. The saints are not so much exceptions to the rule as they are models of what it means to be truly human.

Every one of us, however humble or seemingly insignificant our status in this world, have been called to be saints. Blessed shall we be if we endure to the end every trial and tribulation of this life, ever striving to attain unto the fullness of Christ, even though we may succeed in nothing more than touching the hem of His garment.

No comments:

Post a Comment