A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Neon halos

They are rare, but they are out there, in churches of a particular vintage and with particular cultural histories: cartoonishly painted statues of saints, with a circle of glowing, buzzing, crackling neon behind their heads.

It is likely that someone somewhere in the process of creating these displays was truly pious and really thought that this was a wonderful way to communicate piety and sanctity.

Sadly, however, many other people look at such images differently: sometimes with aesthetic revulsion, sometimes with ridicule, and sometimes with disdain for the very concept of saints.

We know, of course, that the saints are not plaster statues with cheap lead paint and neon halos.

As we hear in today’s first reading (Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14) saints are those who stand and worship before the throne of God.

Of course, even this image, of standing in white robes and being bathed in the light of eternal glory, may sound boring, especially to those most devoted to today’s hyperactive culture.

The main reason for that is that our human minds, chained to finitude and wallowing in materialism, cannot naturally appreciate what it really means to be bathed in the light of eternal glory and the beatific vision.

St. John speaks to this issue in today’s second reading (1 John 3:1-3): …what we shall be has not yet been revealed.

St. Paul puts it even more clearly in 1 Corinthians 2:9-10:

But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him,"
God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

For the Spirit searches everything,
even the depths of God.

This is what God has prepared for us, not rigid statues in surreal light, but to be fully alive in eternally wondrous glory.

This is what God calls us to be and what we can be, if we open ourselves more fully to his grace.

See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.

Yet so we are.

The reason the world does not know us
is that it did not know him.

Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.

We do know that when it is revealed

we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.

Everyone who has this hope based on him

makes himself pure,
as he is pure.