As we approach the close of this Jubilee Year, we celebrate the Feast of All Saints of the Order of Preachers. And as we do each and every year, we pause to reflect and ask ourselves what we must do in order to join with them in the eternal adoration of God. First, we must be baptised but, as we all know so well, receiving baptism isn’t enough. Baptism is not a magic ticket that gets us into heaven. As I said the other day, following Christ is so much more than talking the talk, we must also walk the walk, and follow in Our Lord’s footsteps along the Way of the Cross, if need be. We must put our faith into practice each and every day. Each time we put on the habit we should remind ourselves that we are being clothed again as a new creation in Christ.
For those of us who are professed, salvation is by no means guaranteed. Simply because we have been baptised and confirmed and wear a habit and belong to a Religious Order doesn’t mean that we are guaranteed salvation. There is only one way to get to heaven – and that is through Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Even for those who have never heard of Jesus Christ before, in order to get to heaven, they would have to make that act of faith. Now we know from what the Church teaches us that every person is granted the grace necessary for salvation. But that doesn’t mean that every person will accept that grace. That means for each one of us, for each member of our community, for each member of our Order, for all our relatives, all our friends, our benefactors, even those who hate Our Lord, God offers to them all the grace necessary for conversion and for salvation. This is why we need to pray for all people and that they will accept the grace God offers them. We need also, of course, to pray for ourselves, that we will truly live as children of God.
Today we commemorate those members of the Order who have survived the period of great trial. And that doesn’t mean just surviving the novitiate! These Dominicans, including our own Sisters who have died, were faithful to their vocation, despite their shortcomings and their personal failings. They have washed their robes in the Blood of the Lamb. They are the ones now who are like Him. They have entered into God’s glory.
We too can begin that process: to live our lives according to what it is that happens right here at Mass, because that’s what eternity will be. Eternity will be Mass with all the trimmings. It will be perpetual adoration of our heavenly Father and of the Lamb who is seated on the throne. He is the One whom we will receive in just a few minutes’ time in Holy Communion. He is the One whom we are called to adore, and it is His life that we are called to live.
Even now we are being purified in this time of trial so that we too, one day God willing, will be found worthy to become like Him, to share in His glory, to be able to bow down before the throne of God in the company of our Dominican brothers and sisters, and offer Him worship and adoration for all eternity.
All the Saints of the Order, pray for us.