Solemnity of All Saints
November 1, 2022
We are remembering today all those unnamed saints in heaven, men and women just as much saints as the canonized ones we remember during the year. In doing so, we should burn with a certain desire to one day be with them in heaven, and enjoy their company as we together will be with God forever.
Yes, we are called to be saints, every one of us!
You see, there comes will come a moment for each of us when we will realize something or someone greater than us exists. This moment may come in early-life, mid-life, late-life, or even at the moment before death. Then we will realize that life is eternal, and death is certain. It will be a moment of understanding and decision. We will make a choice, either to accept or reject God’s presence for eternity, to accept or reject being with all the saints in heaven. To accept will mean joy in heaven; to reject will mean eternal darkness and loneliness in hell. It will be a moment of conversion, the conversion of which Father Wagner spoke last Sunday.
Every saint in heaven faced the same decision during their lives, and they said “yes” to God.
You too can be a saint. You too were created for just that reason. You must simply choose God and then remain faithful for the rest of your life, however long that may be. You too will be given the grace to say “yes”, but the choice is ours.
It is difficult to imagine why any of us would choose eternal darkness and loneliness, to deny ourselves the presence of God, yet many seem to do just that. It is equally difficult to imagine why any of us would struggle to accept God’s presence and the gift of eternal life, yet we all, if we are honest with ourselves, struggle with it.
Conversion is always difficult, but converted we all must be!
The best example of this struggle, and this choice for God, is the love seen at the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Jesus said if that he is lifted up on the cross and buried like a seed in the ground, then the entire world will be saved. Jesus showed the whole world that he loves his Father, and his Father loves him, and God love us, and wants us to be like him. Life is given to us through his death. He tells us no one is denied a share in the victory of the cross, all can be saints, if they only say “yes” to God.
Yes, the struggle is certain. If Jesus in his human nature struggled to accept his death, so will we, but if Jesus called his crucifixion a moment of glory, if he called his struggle a holy struggle, so can we.
There is a great temptation to see the struggle as a sign of God’s absence. We often see in our difficulties signs of his non-existence, or his failure to love. There is a great temptation to see our conversion struggle as never ending. It is not. It is earth-bound. It does not exist in heaven. Life with God is eternal. The struggle is only a door, a curtain, a passageway leading either to our glory as saints in heaven, if we accept and remain in communion with God, or to separation from God and his glory, if we have abandoned him.
All this requires great faith. To preach it demands great faith and to hear it requires great faith, which is a way of saying it requires belief in Jesus Christ. Jesus in the Church and in the Eucharist is the way to heaven. Jesus said, “I am the Way.” He said, “I am with you always,” referring to the Church he established. He said, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you will have no life within you.” Nothing else, no one else, will get us there — only our faith, our communion with Jesus in the Church. Jesus has told us clearly how to be a saint. Follow him. Choose him. Be faithful. Eat his body and drink his blood. Every saint in heaven realized this and accepted it. It is our way to sainthood also.
The choice is ours. Do you want to be a saint? Do you want to truly honor all those men and women who have gone before us to be with God in heaven? Shall we be converted? Shall we turn to God, accept God and remain with him, or shall we turn away? The choice is always ours to make, but we must choose.
Choose God. Remain with him. Desire him. Stay close to him. Receive the sacraments. Love God and you will be the saint you were created to be.