By Fr. Roy Cimagala
ON the Solemnity of All Saints, celebrated on November 1, we are reminded that we all are actually called to become saints for the simple reason that we are meant to be God’s image and likeness, sharers of his life and of his nature as God wants us to be. To be a saint is to be God-like.
That is why Christ always compared us to God. “You are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect,” he said. (Mt 5,48) On another occasion, he said, “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.” (Lk 6,36)
Reiterating the same idea, St. Peter said, “You must be holy in everything you do, just as God is holy.” (1 Pt 1,15) St. Paul, for his part, said, “This is the will of God, your sanctification…” (1 Thes 4,3)
But for us to become saints, as we should, we need God’s grace. We cannot achieve that simply using our human powers, even if we are expected to use them to the full. And this means that somehow a miracle must happen for us to become saints.
This is where we have to ask for that miracle. And that miracle can only take place if we have deep faith. Like those characters in the gospel who begged Christ for the miraculous cure of their ailments, the miracle took place because of their faith. In all those miracles, Christ commended those who received their miraculous cure for their faith.
Yes, faith is needed for miracles to happen. We have to be clear about this point. For miracles to happen, especially the most important one which is for us to become saints, to become God-like as we should, faith is needed. This was dramatized in that gospel episode where Christ was presented with a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
“When Jesus saw their faith,” the gospel narrates, “he said to the paralytic, ‘Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.’” Christ said this before he went to cure the man of his paralysis. He cured the man precisely because of their faith, that is, their belief that Christ was truly the expected Redeemer.
Nowadays, many people claim that miracles do not happen anymore. They say miracles only took place in the distant past, the time of the gospel when Christ went around in the land of Judea and Galilee. But now, miracles are considered obsolete, if not an anomaly.
This is like saying that Christ, the son of God who became man, has ceased intervening in our lives, that he was purely a historical man, subject to time and space, and that after death, he is simply no more, completely wrapped in the spiritual world, if ever that exists, and that he has no immediate and tangible impact on our lives.
We have to be clear about this point. Christ is always around and is actively intervening in our lives, directing and leading us to our proper end, in spite of our very erratic ways. He can never be indifferent to us, and is willing to suffer and die for us just to save us. Precisely he came as an expiation for our sins. He is the one who pays for our sins. All we have to do is just to try to go along with him in the best way we can.
What we have to do is to feel that we are helpless without God’s grace, without begging for a miracle for us to become real saints!