Daily Reading for November 5
If we seriously believe that the redemptive power of Christ’s death and resurrection works backwards in time as well as forwards, we must not narrow the scope of God’s activity and God’s love. All are united with all. Those whom the Churches officially recognize as “Saints” are simply those in whom the Christian people recognize some outstanding manifestation of the one life in Christ which is common to all. It is because all are called to be saints, that the Church is able to recognize in some the outstanding generosity of response to a call which all share.
And what a glory of generosity is revealed in the lives and faces of the Saints! In them the true dimensions of our common humanity begin to become apparent. “The human heart can go to the lengths of God.” There is in man a capacity for suffering and for joy, for love and for knowledge which too often we hardly suspect. Our wounded and deeply pessimistic age has too small a regard for the nature and dignity of man. . . .The world will live by the faith of the Saints, those who have not despaired, who in the darkness have seen light, and have therefore been able to bring light and hope to a whole people. These are not only men and women of our own day. Here time and space no longer divide. A young monk on Mount Athos has recently written, “I am reading St. Isaac the Syrian. I feel for the first time that there is a voice which resonates in the very depths of my being. Although he is so far removed from me in space and time, he has come right into my room, spoken to me, sat down beside me. For the first time I feel a kind of pride in our human nature, an amazement before it. . . . He belongs to our common humanity. I rejoice at this. Being of the same nature as myself, he can transfuse the life-giving blood of this freedom into me. He reveals to me man in his true nature.”
From “The Communion of Saints” in The World is a Wedding by A.M. Allchin (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1978).