Standing at the Gates

“When the priest arrives at the gates of heaven or hell, he has a thousand people standing behind him.”- St. John Vianney

That quote could be slightly modified to speak of the role of a Father or Mother of a family. We move forward together, we need each other, not just the help of another person but we need the other person so that we may help them in their salvation. We were made to live in communion and love requires as much. The Jewish people had a belief of this through their understanding of the nephesh. That word literally means soul or life, but it holds the understanding that the soul is in a way shared or communal. That’s not pantheism or some belief in gaia. Instead, it just means that our spirit is a bit bigger than our body and our souls have an effect on each other. We understand that in a small way when we identify someone as magnanimous (literally: a large soul). It’s spiritual physics, when we are small in service and sacrifice we draw love and grace towards ourself, when we are great in love and joy we move towards those in need. If you want to be great, be small. (Mark 10: 43)

I know that we all want to be heroes or at least have a bit of glamor or recognition in our lives. That’s fairly natural and hearing someone say that you need to serve and sacrifice and that will make you great before God doesn’t exactly sound like music to our ears. I think if you ask anyone who faithfully lives that way if it’s glamorous they’d say “no”. If you asked if they were a hero they’d say “no” as well. Easy? “No” Natural? “No”. Ask them if they are happy though and I bet you’d get a humble “Yes!”

I want you to see that your salvation lies in another. It first rests in Jesus Christ whom you must love with your whole body, mind, and soul. Then, it rests in your family, your friends, your neighbor, and whoever else God puts in your path. Bringing 12 people to a living faith in Jesus Christ before you die is not a catchy quip, it’s a blueprint for salvation. After all, if Jesus asks you at the gates of heaven “What did you do with your life on earth?” You can point to the folks behind you and say “I tried to do what you did!”

                                   You and yours are in my prayers,                                                           
                                                 Fr. Eric 

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