All Saints Day

See what love the Father has bestowed upon us
that we may be called the children of God.

1 John 3:1

While in college, I enrolled in a class entitled “Death and Dying.” It was in this context that I first encountered the work of Elizabeth Kübler-Ross. She was a physician engaged in groundbreaking work regarding the stages of death. She also stumbled upon patients’ accounts of “visits” from loved ones who had passed away and the experiences of resuscitated patients who claimed to have “seen” doctors working on their bodies while they were “dead” and who had also visited “heaven” during the same time frame.

By this time, I had lost many family members to serious illnesses. I dealt with these losses by relying on my faith. In my heart, I believed that each one had gone off to heaven to enjoy his or her eternal reward. Though I never questioned my belief in the afterlife, I was intrigued by Kübler-Ross’s findings. How amazing it was to me that the line between faith and science had blurred a bit. I admit to having read every book I have encountered on these topics since. Decades later, medical doctors and other scientists continue to step forward to add to this body of knowledge.

On this All Saints Day, I am pleased that the secular world is taking a peek at what people of faith have known all along: God created humankind out of great love. God gifted us with this world and with one another. Each of us is invited to make the best of our journeys from this life to the next. Today, we celebrate those special souls who did this in an exemplary way. Their accomplishment is not having been sinless, but having the courage to rise above their imperfections to do the right things. That is all God asks of any of us saints-in-the-making.

Creator God, thank you for gifting us with this life. Give each of us the strength, wisdom, determination and love to use our days on this earth to prepare for an eternal lifetime with you.

©2013 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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