Thursday, November 1, 2007

Our Destination

One of the questions that gets asked in our lives is, "Where are you going?"

It might be asked by someone who wants to know our physical destination: are we going to the living room? Are we traveling on the interstate? Are we lost?

It might be asked by someone trying to help us determine our goals: are we happy in our current career, or with our current life? Are we trying to drop a bad habit, change direction in our job, plan a better future one day at a time?

These are good questions as they relate to our lives. But on All Saints' Day we can remember something else.

All Saints' Day is a reminder that it is heaven that is our ultimate destination. The saints are our true heroes, because they have won what we all seek with all our hearts: eternal salvation, the eternal presence of God.

Those things which put us on the path that will lead us to that destination are the best things in our lives, things we should cultivate and value. They may be church, home, family, prayer, good works, and the practice of virtue.

Those things which deflect us from that path should be examined and counteracted, or removed. They may be the love of money, the idolatry of people or possessions, the distractions of the popular culture, bad habits or companions, and the practice of vice.

On the last day of our lives only one thing will matter: did we know where we were going? Did we arrive safely at our ultimate destination?

Tonight we will be singing these words, from a lovely hymn called the Song of Farewell (based on In Paradisum) by Grayson Warren Brown:

May the angels carry you to paradise.
May the saints and martyrs come to greet you.
May you rest in the arms of Abraham
And know peace in heaven forever.

May the choirs of angels come to welcome you home
And lead you joyfully to heaven.
And may those who loved you who have gone before
Be there with arms outstretched to greet you.

Father, welcome them into your kingdom.
Please grant them life everlasting.
As they live now in the New Jerusalem,
May your Spirit fill their souls with freedom.

Happy All Saints' Day--and may we always follow the saints' examples, keeping in mind that our eternal destination is one that will put us in their company forever.

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