So very often we fail

TO BE what we are called TO BE!

I am called to be priestcalled by God and then called by the Church. However, I know all too well that so very often I have failed

TO BE priest. Does this certain knowledge and experience cause me to throw in the towel? Surely not!? The truth of the matter is that I AM and I AM BECOMING!

The same is true of all other callings – called

TO BE husband, wife, father, mother, or even – in some cases – called to the single life. However, experience will have taught all involved that they have not yet BECOME what they are supposed TO BE. Yet, I am ‘priested’ but still becoming priest …. with many others ‘married’ but still becoming married.

Does all this sound a little odd? Maybe, but the principle is clearly outlined in

THIS SUNDAY’S NEW TESTAMENT READING [1 JOHN 3: 1 – 3]. There we read and hear …we should be called children of God, and so we are … we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be.

WE ARE AND WE SHALL BE!

Now, on this great celebration of ALL SAINTS, I repeat the reminder of previous years …… this feast is not celebrating all those good, holy men and women who have been officially recognised and proclaimed by the church as saints. The contrary is the truth we celebrate – we rejoice in and with all those unknown and unnamed faithful disciples of the Lord who have gone before us and now, as Saint John tells us, “see him as he is.”

As Pope Francis pointed out when he presided at the canonisations of John Paul 2 and John 23, the official proclamation that someone is a saint does not, and neither is it intended, that every single thing they said and did is being ‘canonised’ – and neither does it proclaim that they were perfect in life, in the here and now. Over the years I have, countless times, been told:

“but Father Saint Mathuzala said it.” So what? Mathuzala could have, very easily, being having a bad day. In any case I am not obliged to believe everything that any canonised saint said – and neither am obliged to approve of each and every thing he / she did – and neither must I adopt for myself every pious mortification and devotion he / she practised. Every single canonised saint remained a sinner until death. They, also, were something in life but still had to become. Official canonisations merely state that these are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. … NO MORE AND NO LESS! {confer TODAY’S FIRST READING: REVELATION 7: 2 – 4. 9 – 14}

If the canonised were perfect in life there would have been no tribulation for them to come through

. TODAY’S PSALM [24 or 23] asks the question: who shall climb the mountain of the Lord? Each one has a different mountain to climb. The mountain may well be – at different times of our living – an Everest or it might be a gentle hill …. but climb it we must. The climbing has to be done – like it or not. It is in the climbing that I BECOME WHAT I AM SUPPOSED TO BE.

How the saints came through the tribulation was personal to each one, and may well not be suitable for my own personal plan of action in my own process of becoming what I am.

Recall what was written some months ago that

“what we find on the journey will be different for each one of us. The journey may look the same, but each one’s story is unique. We each discover within ourselves our own truth. We find our buried treasure.” {GANGAJI} Shakespeare expressed it differently: “they say men are moulded out of faults, and for the most, become much more the better; for being a little bad.” {MEASURE FOR MEASURE}

Our confession of faith that we

“believe in the communion of saints” tells us that we are, in our temporal lives, united in a community of faith with those who have gone before us – our families, friends and ‘enemies’. We are all in it together, and so there is no reason why I should not seek the intercession of my deceased father and mother, spouse or child, who have died in the Lord. They now see him face to face and are able to intercede for us. This Sunday is their feast – they are those we celebrate.

Hamlet, in Shakespeare’s play, asks the question of himself ….

“to be or not to be?” Each and every time we choose TO BE we take one little step towards becoming what we are becoming and supposed to be …. what one day we WILL BE!

TODAY’S GOSPEL [MATTHEW 5: 1 – 12a]

provides the exhaustive list of what we are supposed to be. The eight beatitudes are the best of all examinations of conscience. However, for me, the most important element comes at the end when Jesus says rejoice and be glad. There is no room for maudlin, despondent, Christians as we strive TO BE, fail, pick ourselves up and soldier on.

This is what saints do!