By a happy coincidence, we had the Sacrament of the Sick here in the monastery during Mass today for those Sisters who wished to receive it. And the first reading at Mass was very appropriate to that sacrament. Saint Paul says to the Romans and to us: I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as NOTHING compared with the glory to be revealed for us. He goes on to say: creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God . . . when it will be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We could spend DAYS meditating on these words of Scripture from the pen of the great Apostle to the Gentiles, but for the moment, let us just notice how the thought of Saint Paul is full of anticipation and hope and optimism about our eternal future. “The glory to be revealed in us” will make the sufferings, sicknesses, pains, and finally death in this life of ours, in retrospect, seem like a small price to pay for the enormous happiness for which God has destined us.
And he uses the interesting phrase “the revelation of the children of God.” What does that mean? It means that God has intended to make each of us a wonderful human being—a creature of body and soul in whom all the gifts of soul, heart, mind, and body are fully engaged in love of God and neighbor. We are only just beginning our journey to fully human existence; we don’t even know what it’s like to be fully and totally human. We relate to our existence in heaven as the newborn baby relates to the 35-year-old man or woman whom he/she will be some day, or as the acorn relates to the oak tree that it will one day be. There is certainly an identity, but also certainly a tremendous development. You are the same person you were when you were 6 months old, but look at the difference! Look at the difference between the acorn and the oak tree, the cute newborn puppy and the well-trained hunting dog that it will be in about 4 years.
We will be, says Saint Paul, “set free from slavery to corruption.” That means that in our new life after this one, there will be no more death, no more suffering. We will be free from those things and will live the life that God’s creative love intended for us. Beautiful concepts! A bright future! And a striking manifestation of how much God loves us and how much he wants us to be with him forever in Heaven. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This Message was composed some years ago.