Thursday, November 01, 2018

Grace turns us into saints, so get grace! (All Saints homily)

I borrowed this photo from a Facebook page about carotenemia. You can click on the photo to learn more.

You and I, everyone here, we are all destined to be saints. 
There are no non-saints in heaven. 
It’s all first-class seats, no economy section. 
So people say, “Oh, I won’t be a saint” – be careful, 
because what you are actually saying is, that you will go to hell.

But what about purgatory? 
Purgatory isn’t a final destination; it’s the preparation for heaven. 
Eventually purgatory will be empty, having purified us for heaven.

The saints help us to become saints. 
They pray for us and they give us their example. 
If you want to be saint – which you should, because otherwise, 
what do want, to go to hell? 

But if you want to be a saint, pay attention to the saints, 
learn from them, imitate them. 
This is why it’s important to have a patron saint. 
If you don’t know what saint you were named after, find out; 
ask your parents. Learn about that saint. Talk to him or her.
If you aren’t named after a saint, then pick your own patron. 
And of course, you can have more than one saint to emulate.

But the main thing I want to say 
is that saints show us what grace is and what grace does. 
We don’t talk enough about grace, and that’s a problem.
I think a lot of Catholics don’t even realize what the sacraments are.
They think, oh it’s just something you do; a rite of passage.
But they are far more than that. 
Jesus created the sacraments to give us grace.
So for example, when couples get married outside the church, 
Maybe they think, well, we’re still legally married, right?  
But they are denying themselves God’s grace.
If you know anyone who made that mistake, 
have them call me, because we can fix that.

Grace is what we need, we have no hope without grace. 
No heaven without grace. 
So it’s not too much to say 
that grace is the most important thing there is, 
and you and I need all we can get.

So what is grace?

According to the Catechism, grace is 
the “undeserved help that God gives us 
to respond to his call to become children of God”; 
and, “Grace is a participation in the life of God. 
It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life.”

In other words, Grace is God’s own life, 
poured into our lives, to make us like God.
So what happens when that someone yields to that supernatural life, 
that grace, that power from God?

What happens is a saint.

So if you haven’t been to confession in a while, 
get there, and turn on the grace spigot. 
And for heaven’s sake, if you have a mortal sin, get to confession first, 
before going to Holy Communion.
Because receiving Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin 
is itself a grave sin, and doesn’t bring us grace, but condemnation.
First get clean and get right with Christ,
and receive Holy Communion; and receive that Life!

When my sister had her first child, like any mother, 
she was determined to do everything right. 
She fed my nephew lots of carrots. 
She stuffed him with jar after jar of carrots. 
And believe it or not, he actually turned a little bit orange!

That’s a good image of what grace will do to us if we let it.
Grace turns us gracious; grace sanctifies us; 
Grace will, in time, make us saints. That’s the whole point!

So on this All Saints Day, realize 
there’s still a lot of open slots in heaven, waiting for you and me. 
It will take opening our lives to God’s grace to get there.
So ask your patron saints to help you. Ask as many saints as you can.
Watch them; learn from them; and seek often the sacraments 
Jesus gave us so that you and I can be stuffed and changed by grace.
Not turned orange; but turned into saints.


Anonymous said...

Great homily, Father. Thank you. I love the visual of the orange face. I appreciate all your homilies you post here. Thank you and please keep helping us find our way to heaven!

Anonymous said...

What a great homily! I missed your mass on Friday morning (11/2) and was told your homily was really good. Would you be willing to post it?

Fr Martin Fox said...


Thanks for your kind words.

I don't write out all my homilies; if I do, I post them. My homily for All Souls was not written out, so I can't post it, sorry.