Emmitsburg Council of Churches


Two mystical communities

Father John J. Lombardi

This weekend we celebrate two mystical communities, of Life ≠ All Saints, and the After Life ≠ The Faithful Departed Souls.

ALL SAINTS: One time a friend asked me: Whatís the definition of a saint? Stumped, I asked for The Answer= A sinner who keeps trying. Now, we may be our own worst enemies in becoming saints≠because we think we canít do it or, worse, we donít want to. God and our Holy Catholic Church give us this beautiful Feast Day to show us Godís myriad variety of His magnificence. He manifests in all kinds of people: from slaves like Josephine Bakhita and Tousaint LíOuverture to royalty, St Louis and Elizabeth of Hungary. The Divine Lord works thru joyful souls like Phillip Neri (he carried a joke book), in beauties like Catherine of Siena, and thru severe sinners--St Margaret of Crotona lived in adultery for 7years, and He divinizes reformed drunks: Ven Matt Talbott, and dwells in poor beggar-wanderers (Joseph Benedict Labre) and athletes (Pope John Paul II) and tabernacles in intellectuals (St Thomas Aquinas) and bumbling outcasts (Joseph Cupertino lived in pig sties and also mystically levitated). Life is a ThroDrama of God, and All Saints is His greatest work of Art: sinners become saints because God loves redeeming, uplifting and healing humanity. Sainthood= living a Christian life of heroic virtue. Think of Allesandro (Serenelli) who overcame murder Ėof Maria Goretti, and became holy and a Third Order Franciscan--a lotta people live Christian lives, but few live this heroically. Think of saintly artists like Bl. Fra Angelico and also the mystic, St John of the Cross who loved God-The-Mystery and also poor persons and the Spanish countryside. Married saints? Venís Louis and Zellie Martin, were parents of St Therese of Liseaux. A priest-friend was with a family once on vacation and he said of them: "Theyíre incredibly holy≠and counter cultural. And the kids are so happy. They really refreshed me." Loza saints: Pope John Paul II made it his task to reveal and canonize more saints. His reason: there are saints all around us and the Church needs models of holiness≠all different kinds!

ALL SOULS : All those who die in Faith are not dead but are being purified in the afterlife or are in Haven-paradise! Godís Mercy trumps human troubles. Think of it this way: if one is not bad enough for Hell and yet not good enough yet for Heaven≠who isnít besides the saints?≠then God cleans them up. Read II Mac. 12: 38ff where Judas Maccabeus prayed for his dead Jewish brothers killed in war and takes up an offering for them for the expiation of their sins. We still believe God can hear prayers for the dead, and cleanse souls, just as in Judas Maccabeusí time. So this November especially pray for your dearly departed deceased

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi