+BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT All Saints 2022
As I thought about todays feast and what I might share with you this morning what came to mind was a recent video by Bishop Robert Barron on the life of St Therese of Lisieux. When she died at 24 toward the end of the 19thcentury, she was only known to her friends and family. In but a few years because of her autobiography she became known throughout the world.
Great minds have found themselves deeply moved by her, minds like Dorothy Day, Edith Stein, Urs Van Balthasar, St John Paul II who declared her a Doctor of the Church, our own Fr Louis or Thomas Merton. When her relics were brought to the States in the 1990’s millions went to see them. When taken to Ireland almost the whole nation came to honored them.
What was it about this saint that has touched and continues to touch the hearts of millions? It was her total surrender to the working of grace in her life, the realization that it is God’s own love that is the source of all sanctity. We are remembering today all the Saints and if we look carefully at any of their lives, what we see are men and women deeply moved by divine love, hearts enflamed by God’s intervention in their lives.
What a grace it is to live the life we have here at this Abbey, the daily opportunity of opening our lives more and more to the gift of Christ’s love for each and all of us. And this is true of all who are gathered here, of every human being. At Vigils this morning we heard St Aelred give us the key to opening our hearts to Christ’s loving presence when he told us to listen to St Peter telling us “Humble yourselves under God’s might hand that he may raise you up.” (1 Pet. 5-6) It is about recognizing our constant need of God’s grace and loving presence in our lives.
Jesus telling us that: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are they that mourn, blessed are the meek, blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, blessed are the merciful,” is a matter of living by grace rather than by our own human inclination. It is about letting divine love take hold of our lives. It is about being marked by the seal on our foreheads. Therese of Lisieux went through a terrible struggle against unbelief toward the end of her life, doubting the very existence of heaven. In doing so she became identified with human beings all over the globe.
St John, the disciple whom Jesus love gives us the greatest hope for our future when he reminded us this morning: “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” What great promise this solemnity holds out to us for we are to be gathered into God’s very own eternal embrace.
And isn’t this what already takes place here at the Eucharist. To hear the inspired word and to partakes of Christ’s very own Body and Blood gives us every reason to remain faithful to our calling as it leads us to an eternal dwelling. Might we too, with St Therese, become love at the heart of the Church! Amen
(Rev. 7:2-4; 9-14; 1 Jn 3:1-3; Mt 5:1-12a)