The Communion of the Saints must surely be one of the great consolations of our most holy faith. The faithful on earth, the souls in purgatory and the saints in heaven, all belong to the Kingdom of God. The secret purposes of God we do not know, though many are known to us through faith. We know that “The souls of the just are in the hands of God and no torment, even death, has power to reach them; worldly fools thought they were dead, their life was loss, and annihilation, but all is well with them”.
We simply do not know how many are finally saved but our Lord did remark in answer to that most sombre of questions: “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (St. Luke 13: 24). The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Maidens informs us that it was the foolish who were taken by surprise and were thus not quite ready to enter in when the time arrived. The whole parable is a solemn warning for those who are not quite ready. The entire course of this life is a state of probation, hence the need to pursue holiness and “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling”, and pray that we will be among the “wise”.
The positive side is that we are created images of God’s eternal being and we could not go higher than that; human nature is elevated as high as it can go. St John said, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (I John 3: 1). Has the fact that we are God’s children, created in His image, redeemed by His beloved Son, really had a profound impact upon the way we live and our priorities?; are we “…being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3: 18)?, or are we happy with a hand in hand with the world type of religion that demands no sacrifices and allows us to cling on to unwholsome rock music, salacious TV programmes and films and novels with questionable content? Moreover how does such a “Catholicism-Lite” (George Weigel) religion sit comfortably with St. Paul’s admonition: “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom.12: 2)?
When we go to Sacred Scripture, we find that it is when the Church is most unlike the world that it makes its greatest impact. Thus the Church in the Book of Acts was not closely approximated to the Roman Empire; it was poles apart, and yet what a tremendous force for good the Christians were as they were scattered and went everywhere proclaiming the Gospel. Is not the Church today virtually indistinguishable from the world around?, I mean are Christians really striving to keep themselves “unstained from the world” (St. James 1: 27)? Do these searching questions occupy your thoughts similarly?
Warmest good wishes,