Faithful unto death


“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (NRSV, Matthew 5:8)
“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (RSV Catholic edition, Revelation 2:10)

All Saints’ Day is the festival of all those who have attained the Beatific Vision, that is, those who at this very moment share God’s life and see him in his unimaginable beauty and splendour, and are filled with the eternal joy which that sharing and seeing bestow.  That bliss, which is the intended goal of human life, belongs to those souls who have been so cleansed from every taint of sin that even the thought of doing anything contrary to the holiness of God has become unthinkable.

So the life of Heaven consists in visible fellowship with God and with the Blessed Saints – with that great multitude that no one can count, who have been washed clean from their sins in the Blood of the Lamb and now stand before God in shining purity (see Revelation 7:9,14).

Now the life of the Saints in Heaven and the life of the faithful Christian here, differ only in degree.  For with both it consists in a living personal relationship with God and with one’s fellow Christians.  So, for the Blessed Saints, Heaven is only the final stage in their spiritual pilgrimage which began years before in this world and has now reached its end before the Throne of God.

Their relationship with God, like that of the faithful Christian here, began with their repentance, when they deliberately placed themselves on the side of God, and prepared to combat the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil with resolution and vigour.  So, though through the frailty of their mortal nature they often fell into sin, nevertheless they always returned to God in humble penitence, and took their place once more as forgiven sons and daughters in his Family.

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