By Christopher Centrella, Franciscan University
The Solemnity of All Saints commemorates those who have gone before us and are now in the presence of the living Christ forever and ever, eternally adoring the Divine Majesty, the Holy Trinity! “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. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night within his temple.” (Revelation 7:14-15). Saved by the grace of Christ Jesus, they are now in His presence “day and night,” with the Blessed Mother and all the angels!
How can we too achieve this goal, so that at the end of our lives we can say with St. Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)? The answer comes in the form of a Person, someone who loves you in all your pain, your sin, and your brokenness. Jesus Christ sees everything you have ever done, everything you have been through. And in the midst of that, He calls out, “Come to me, and I will forgive you. I will give you the grace each day to live according to the Light. I will strengthen you.”
Jesus is calling you; He is ever ready to shower His love and mercy upon you, if only you come to Him and seek forgiveness. Christ is not the judge who wants to smite you and condemn you forever to Hell. Rather, He is your Savior, someone who wants to heal and transform you, so that you can become the living image of Himself that God created you to be. As St. John writes, “God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17). Just as He forgave Mary Magdalen, Christ wants to embrace you, forgive you, and lead you to Himself. This is what the Christian Faith is about, conforming ourselves to a Person, Jesus Christ, so we can become like Him. He wants to abide in you, amidst all your pain and brokenness. He wants you to be in His presence, so He can show you His merciful heart, veiled behind the tabernacle and full of love, yet so hardly loved in return. If you can, spend at least fifteen minutes each day, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. You can do your homework, give Jesus your pain and suffering, or even just speak to Him.
Jesus told St. Thomas, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6). Christ is a Way of living; we are called to live a life that glorifies God and praises Him in all things. Spending time in His presence, hanging out with friends, or watching a wholesome movie together, we as Christians are called to do everything for the glory of God, seeking to praise Him even in little ways. St. Paul tells us that we are adopted children of God. (cf. Galatians 4:5). Once you were baptized, Christ adopted you into His Kingdom, and God began to dwell inside you. Sisters and brothers, you must strive to live as children of the Light, remembering that it is the Holy Trinity that dwells inside you; the life of God is animating your soul. As long as you remain faithful to His Word, loving Him by doing what He commands (cf. John 14:15), God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are within you. As St. John reminds us, “but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7).
Besides showing us how we are to live, Christ is the Truth, revealing the Father to us and reminding us of the intrinsic value that we have. Jesus longs to speak to you in the midst of all your pain and brokenness, bringing the infinite love of God the Father, who “gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). He longs to redeem you from sin and to protect you from evil. By staying close to Him, you will not be deceived by Satan, but will remember your dignity and true destiny. You have intrinsic dignity because you are created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Genesis 1:26), capable of being united with Him. And no matter what the sin and pain, this dignity can never be taken away. Rather, the Father is always ready to forgive you and pour His mercy upon you; He is waiting for you to come to Him in Confession.
Finally, Christ is the Life that each of us is called to live. At the end of his second epistle to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14). Saved by Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the love of God, you are now called to enter into communio or communion, with the Holy Spirit; your very being is animated by the life of the Holy Trinity inside you, Christ your Brother, God your Father, and the Holy Spirit your Guide! Sisters and brothers, this is the essence of the Christian Life; whenever you are in the state of grace, God is dwelling within you, your body a living temple of the Holy Spirit! (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16).
Each of us is called to live this Life even more fully, our entire being animated by the Spirit of Christ. Before attending Mass, spend ten minutes in the presence of Jesus, asking Him to reveal His love and unite Himself to you. During the offertory, offer your pain and brokenness, your plans, yourself to Christ. When you say, “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of His name, for our good and the good of all His holy Church,” remember that you are offering your very self to Jesus, so that He can transform you. At the consecration, the living Christ is made present in the host. (cf. John 6:51). Our Lord told His disciples that, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6:56). When you receive Holy Communion, Christ comes to you and unites Himself to you, bringing His love and healing. In fact, since Christ is inseparable from the Father and the Son, the entire Holy Trinity is united to you, in a very intimate and personal way. The Holy Trinity abiding in you, Holy Communion is a foretaste of Heaven, where you will be united to Christ for all eternity if you remain faithful to His Word.
On another occasion, Christ told His disciples, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10). Jesus wants to give us His Life in abundance, even outside of sacramental communion. Throughout each day, ask the Lord to unite Himself to you. “Lord, unite yourself with me and help me to do your will in all things.” According to some of the saints, a spiritual communion that includes a longing to receive the Blessed Sacrament, can be as efficacious as a sacramental communion. This is also the beauty of Eucharistic Adoration; when you spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, Christ will draw close to you, loving you and giving you the strength to persevere.Finally, Christ is calling you to bring Him to others, so that you might, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15), sharing what Jesus Christ has done for your life. As St. John Paul II said, “They will discover the meaning of life by encountering Jesus Christ…through your joyful witness.” Christ is calling you to speak to your friends about Him, to walk as children of the light in the midst of darkness, doing what He commands and seeking to grow closer to Him each day (cf. Philippians 2:15-16). Above all, He is calling you to do His will in all things, no matter how small or how large the task may seem. Following in the footsteps of Christ and in those who have gone before us, you will one day say, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20). May the peace of God, the peace that “passes all understanding,” be with you forever. (Philippians 4:7). Amen.