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Posts Tagged ‘Heavenly Heroes: The Saints’

“To become saints means to fulfill completely what we already are, raised to the dignity of God’s adopted children in Christ Jesus… The saints bring to light in creative fashion quite new human potentialities… The saints are themselves the living spaces into which one can turn… There is no isolation in heaven. It is the open society of the saints and, consequently, also the fulfillment of all human togetherness… One might say that the saints are, so to speak, new Christian constellations, in which the richness of God’s goodness is reflected. Their light, coming from God, enables us to know better the interior richness of God’s great light… Nothing can bring us into close contact with the beauty of Christ himself other than the world of beauty created by faith and light that shines out from the faces of the saints, through whom his own light becomes visible.”

Pope Benedict XVI

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Yesterday evening we celebrated  the feast of St. Nicholas, known to much of the world as Santa Claus.  This custom goes back to the roots of our Congregation’s founding in Germany in 1850.  I am grateful that the special little traditions that are part of our “Notre Dame culture” endure to this day.  Apple turnovers, candy, nuts, little gifts, and special songs are part of this celebration to which we bring simple hearts that still have the ability to enjoy and celebrate this day.  As Francis Church wrote so many years ago, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  He exists as surely as love and generosity and devotion exist..Alas, how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! …There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.  The eternal light with which childhood fill the world would be extinguished.”

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F00030.JPG“The saints know that God is never strange, other. God is, when he calls me, closer to me than I am myself. Spurred on by God’s love, the saints attempt things which which those who remain tied to their own resources could never have dreamed of. The saints are proof that Christians can become holy. The saint burns with an absolute fire; he is selfless and yet is made whole. He does what others plan to or deliberately forget. The saints are true realists; they take seriously the hopelessness of man as it is and do not seek refuge from the present in the future. They are clever but not calculating; they live out of a desire to squander themselves which stems from God’s Eucharistic love.

The saints are humble, that is to say the mediocrity of the Church does not deter them from joining themselves to her once and for all, For they know well enough that without the Church they would not find their way to God. They do not fight mediocrity in a spirit of contestation, but by spurring on those who have quality, by inspiring them, by igniting them… And if they are genuine, they never point to themselves; they themselves are only a reflection; it is the Master of the flame who is all important. ”

Father Hans Urs von Balthasar (+1988)

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