November 1st All Saints Day
The following reflection is by Fr.Tom Cahill
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species. Many scientists today accept that there is a huge body of evidence supporting the view that we have descended from an animal with chimpanzee-like capacities. If we have, then what we hear today’s First Reading (Apoc 7:2-4, 9-14) telling us is all the more amazing. For there we have attained near god-like capacities. Which is more difficult to believe: that a crude chimp is now a sophisticated human who composes sublime symphonies, produces fabulous works of art, explores cosmic vastness and penetrates atomic depths; or to believe that this human is destined for near divinity in a new ordering of creation? Science serves truth in dull and detailed prose.
Scripture sets it in a sweeping story and inspiring imagery that lifts us higher than science can ever do. Science examines and reports. Scripture reveals and inspires. Science fixes us firmly to matter; scripture frees us as spirit. Saints – all of them – are the poets among us. Not vice versa, though. They are, what the old pop song jingles out, ‘poetry in motion’. As poetry opens pathways to understanding, refines human emotions and grants glimpses of transcendence we would not otherwise experience, so saints have done and continue to do through the generosity and sanctity of their lives. They show us what life can be like because of what it will be like. They bring the future to our doorstep. Whether we grant it entrance to our home is up to us.