One of the fine confirmand’s questions asked last May at our retreat was: “What is the method by which people become saints?" It is not by our method, but rather it is by God’s method that we become saints. We call it grace. Perhaps All Saint’s Sunday—a favorite memory for me—is not until the beginning of November, but saints or believers or disciples should always occupy our minds.
We recently sang the hymn, Grace Greater that our Sin (# 365, verse 4) which sings this way:
“Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, freely bestowed on all who believe! You that are longing to see his face, will you this moment his grace receive?”
This is the grace of God which reigns in our lives like it did for Abraham, Moses, David, and St. John the Divine. It reigned in the lives of Sarah, Naomi, Hannah, Rahab, and Mary. As women and men of the gospel, we rely on God’s steady hand in our lives and we are not left to our all too human devices and methods to make sense out of this life we have been given as a gift. Above all, we, like the names of the saints before us, today rely on God and God’s grace to redeem our earthly time and our earthly lives.
Karl Stegall tells a story about two brothers who entered the first grade in 1991. One said he was born on January 1, 1984. The other brother said he was born on April 4, 1984. “That is impossible,” said the teacher.
“No,” replied the first brother, “one of us is adopted.”
“Which one?” asked the teacher.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “One day I asked my mother and she kissed us both and said, ‘I forgot.’”
This is the method by which people become saints. God kisses us and forgets which ones of us are adopted and which ones of us are naturals.