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Saint Matthew
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The Saints


Author: H.E. Bishop Bawai Soro

OUR HEARTS ARE RESTLESS


"I heard a voice from heaven say, 'Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' 'Yes,' said the Spirit, 'let them find rest from their labors, for their works accompany them.'"

Revelation 14:13
The Saints

Saint Augustine, bishop of Hippo in the fifth century, in the beginning of his great work The Confessions, puts his finger precisely on what it is about human life that drives and motivates us: we are restless. Augustine saw that energy and drive in the human spirit as coming from God and tending toward union with him when he wrote his prayer to the Lord, "You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." God is the origin and the goal of all human existence.

The human vocation, plain and simple, is to respond to the call to holiness we have received. Through the ministry of the Church, God provides us with his grace, mercy, forgiveness, and every help necessary so that we may respond fully to his call. Since we have our origin in God and the end or goal of our existence is found only in him, the purpose of human life is to become saints. Our goal is to see God face to face.

Saints, or the blessed, are those to whom Jesus referred in the Sermon on the Mount, when he talked about the poor in spirit, the meek, peacemakers, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful and pure in heart. By saying "yes" to God's call to holiness, they allow the mystery of Christ and the Cross to become fully actualized in their lives.

In our common usage we use the word saints to refer to those people who have died and now live with God. By their faithfulness to God's call, by their works of charity and love, and by their cooperation with God's grace, they have allowed the mystery of salvation to come to completion in their lives. They have shared in the suffering of Christ on the Cross, and the same Jesus who said to the good thief, "Today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43) has flung wide the doors of paradise to them also.

Salvation is not something earned. It is a free gift of God. Responding to the Lord's grace, we are free to choose or reject that gift. By his penitence as he hung next to Jesus on Calvary, the good thief acknowledged his sinfulness, recognized Jesus' lordship, and humbly begged to be remembered when Jesus entered into his reign. Repentance and conversion are a necessary part of the human response to the call to holiness. By turning away from sin and following in the Lord's footsteps, we allow that mystery of salvation to work within us. This is how saints are made.

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