In Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans, we find him today outlining the divine plan of our salvation. He divides it into 5 stages. He says that we are foreknown by God; we are predestined to be conformed to Christ by our human nature; we are called, we are justified, and we are glorified.
Now, what does all this mean? It means that God has planned to create you and me for all eternity. We have existed in the divine intellect as an idea, a loving plan. He planned for us to be not angels, not animals, not birds or fish or trees, but human beings. And theologically speaking, a human being is a man or woman who belongs to the same species as Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is “firstborn” not in terms of time, but rather in terms of perfection, of dignity, of value, of leadership. We are perfect human beings to the degree that we resemble Our Divine Lord.
He called us out of nothingness into being. We were conceived; we were born; we began to live our human lives. He called us also into his Church, which is the principal means for the justification, that is, the sanctification of the human person. And then, if we allow ourselves to be sanctified, justified, made holy, made like Jesus, then we will be glorified.
But there is a danger here. God has made us in his image and likeness, which means that he made us with free will. We can choose to obey him, or to disobey him. He invites us to be like Jesus; he enables us to do so. But he does not force us. That is why in the gospel of today’s Mass, Jesus foretells that some humans will knock at the doors of heaven, and will be told from inside, “I don=t know where you come from.” They will answer “Of course you do; we knew you; you lived among us, ate with us, spoke with us. We shared many things with you.” But he will repeat, “I don=t know where you come from.” This means “You have not conformed your life to mine; you are not my kind of people. Therefore you are not welcome here.”
God forbid that those words should ever be addressed to us. Let us, on the contrary, live so as to resemble Our Lord by being obedient to his commandments. He calls us; let us follow. He sanctifies us, let us gladly submit. And one day he will glorify us in heaven. Let us live in anticipation of that reality, which is our destiny. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This Message was composed some years ago.