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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

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Thursday, 1 November 2012

ABBOT PAUL'S HOMILY FOR ALL SAINTS 2012


All Saints 2012

    I have always been struck by the words in the Fourth Eucharistic Prayer, “Those whose faith is known to you alone.” The new translation reads, ‘All the dead, whose faith you alone have known.” I suppose we’ll get used to it. Today we remember all the saints of the Old and New Testament and all the saints of history, men and women, famous or forgotten, who are officially recognised as such by the universal Church, the “hundred and forty four thousand,” as it were. But then there is that “huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language”, who, according to the book of the Apocalypse, stand before God’s throne and worship him in the joyful and victorious liturgy of eternity. Among them we find “those who have been through the great persecution and have washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb.”

    Today we celebrate not only the known but the unknown, those, in fact “whose faith is known to you alone.” I derive great comfort from this. It means that there is room among the saints for the insignificant and the mediocre, the unsung and the unloved, in other words even for me. And that is the ultimate proclamation of Christian hope: “In my Father’s house there are many mansions.”

    St John told us in the second reading, “Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children, and that is what we are. We are already the children of God. All we know is, that when the future is revealed, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is.” We are not easily convinced of God’s love. Creation, which reveals a God of love and beauty and life also conceals the sinister presence of evil, destruction and death. Moreover, our faith is weak and we often feel unworthy, sinful and impure. Yet it is we whom God loves. “God so loved the world … He did not send his only Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through him.” Jesus came simply to save sinners, to save you and me. Not a sparrow falls to the ground but that God takes note. “Why, even the hairs of your head are counted!” It is easy to forget that the saints, too, were sinners, some of them grave sinners, and that they, like us, were forgiven by the Cross of Jesus, the blood of the Lamb, and saved by God’s grace, amazing grace indeed. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” those who recognise their need for God, for theirs alone is the Kingdom of Heaven.

    At present the children of God are divided into the Church Militant, those of us still struggling here on earth (and it’s not always easy, is it?), the Church Expectant, the souls in Purgatory being prepared for Heaven, and the Church Triumphant, those who have crossed the threshold and now sing God’s praises with the angels and archangels in the sheer bliss of the beatific vision. But let us not forget: one day there will be only Heaven and there will be only Love, for God will be all in all and every tear will be wiped away. Today, then, we give thanks to God for all the saints and thank him for calling us to be numbered among them.  Let us also promise to do our best to respond to his love and, in all humility, to be content and truly grateful just to be one of those “whose faith is known to you alone.” Amen.
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