On December 25, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI wrote his first encyclical letter title Deus Caritas Est (God is Love). Personally, I believe that this little church document, is one of the most beautiful and easiest encyclicals to understand. If you ever have a moment to reflect upon your life and the world that surrounds us, I strongly encourage you to read it. I decided to include the first paragraph of the opening introduction in this week’s bulletin. It describes perfectly the formula on how to become a saint and ultimately, reach our final destiny, our eternal dwelling place in heaven.
Pope Benedict writes: “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16). These words from the First Letter of John express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith: The Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny. In the same verse, St. John also offers a kind of summary of the Christian life: “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.” In these words, the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea but the encounter with an event, a Person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. St. John’s Gospel describes that event in these words: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should… have eternal life” (John 3:16).
I hope that as we celebrate All Saints day and All Souls, we can come to a deeper appreciation, of the greatest event, that has ever happened in human history, our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only reason why we have existence, why we can come together as a community, why we can walk in one faith, one hope and one love. Heaven is knowing that to be loved by God and loving others, gives us our very existence. Some may say the reaching of heaven is a lifelong uphill task, others may that trying to be holy is only for the saints. What I am certain of, is that for those of us who have a soul, Our Lord is slow to anger, kind of heart and merciful. Aim for heaven, but just in case we choose the bumpy road out of negligence or procrastination, there is always purgatory. Hopefully, some kindhearted soul will pray for us when we are there.
Pax et bonum