What’s the IQ required to enter heaven?

The great feast of All Saints is just around the corner. I use to think that All Saints was a catch all day that the Church created to cover herself in case those non-canonized saints got upset.  I don’t know at what point in time it dawned on me that the Feast of All Saints is really not about the saints themselves, but about the universal call to sanctity.Francis and lepers

There are only 365 days in a calendar year.  There is no way that we can venerate every canonized saint in one year’s time, much less learn very much about all of them.  But then again, it about more than veneration.  It’s about imitation.  Over the centuries thousands of men and women have lived lives of heroic virtue.  They have gone over and beyond what is usual and customary in the spiritual life.  We’re talking about the practice of charity, prayer, penance, humility, docility to the Holy Spirit, desire for God, detachment from the things of this world, service to voiceless, forgiveness, purity and many other virtues that I can’t list here, because we just don’t have the luxury to do so.  But you get the picture.

Last Monday, I was leading the discussion at our weekly formation class.   I mentioned that St. Thomas Aquinas grappled with the Immaculate Conception.  One of our brothers had a knee-jerk reaction.  “How could a saint grapple with a dogma?  Especially Aquinas?”

It’s impoHow-The-Human-Nervous-System-Worksrtant to remember that the saints grapple with the same questions about human existence, the meaning of life and the nature of God as the rest of us.  For some of them, these become lifelong areas of study and reflection, such as Aquinas and Bonaventure.  Others don’t even know the question, much less the answer and they’re not particularly interested.  They know God is very real and that their vocation is to reach out to Him through the practice of virtue, someone like Mother Teresa.

In fact, the Feast of All Saints should help us to see the simplicity of God and God’s love for us.  Among the saints we find geniuses and fools, very charismaticMother Teresa people and others who were more distant, some very blunt and some very diplomatic, some clowns and others who were almost too intense.  It was how they used the few or the many gifts that they had to practice perfect charity that got them to heaven.  Genius is not a prerequisite for heaven.  If that were the case, Peter would never have become Prince of the Apostles and would still be sitting on some dock on the Sea of Galilee.

As much as some people want to admire St. Paul for being a no-nonsense preacher and teacher, I’m not so sure that he was as harsh as people paint him out to be.  He may have been a straight shooter.  We see this in his exchange with Peter, but he was also a respectful marksman.  During his entire discourse he refers to Peter as Cephas (Rock).  He never fails to acknowledge Simon’s office in the College of the Apostles.  This is not so typical of one who is allegedly a tough guy.  The tough guy as we understand it is the one who is in your face.  That certainly was not Paul.  He was frank, but he sincerely loved Peter and respected him.  What we see in the story is an event about love, not rebellion.  Love is the highest of the virtues.  Paul love Peter, love the Gentiles and loved the universal Church.  He sets out to protect what he loves by pointing to what he sees as wrong.  But he does so with great respect.

The febaby dohast of all Saints calls us to remember that we have been created for love, nothing more is needed.  You can convert a wise man into a saint and you may never convert a saint into a wise man.  But that’s OK.  The vocation to sanctity is a call to the perfection of love.  That’s what we celebrate November 1.  The God who created us out of love, calls us to share in His love for all eternity.  We can begin today.  You don’t need a high IQ to love.

Published in: on October 29, 2014 at 12:39 AM  Leave a Comment  

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