Today is the beautiful feast of All Saints and the students here have come up with a beautiful way of marking it – with the first of our monthly all-night adorations. Aside from the mass this seems to be one of the best ways to mark the feast of all saints. There seems to be a link between Adoration and sharing in the Beatific Vision – we believe saints are in the presence of God, which is beyond our understanding, but has something to do with the most powerful force in the universe, that of Divine Love. Rowan Williams the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, explained this the other week in much more eloquent words. Making history by being the first Anglican Primate to address a Vatican Synod. Although this happened three weeks ago I have been pondering his words since then, building on the theological anthropology of French Jesuit Henri du Lubac he said some beautiful things that are worth treasuring and meditating on .
To be fully human is to be recreated in the image of Christ’s humanity….. in his relationship to the Father… a relationship of loving and adoring self-giving, a pouring out of life towards the Other….. this is a contemplative humanity… that selfless attention to the Other that brings not death but life to the self. All contemplating of God presupposes God’s own absorbed and joyful knowing of himself and gazing upon himself in the trinitarian life. To be contemplative as Christ is contemplative To be contemplative as Christ is contemplative is to be open to all the fullness that the Father wishes to pour into our hearts. With our minds made still and ready to receive, with our self-generated fantasies about God and ourselves reduced to silence, we are at last at the point where we may begin to grow. And the face we need to show to our world is the face of a humanity in endless growth towards love, a humanity so delighted and engaged by the glory of what we look towards that we are prepared to embark on a journey without end to find our way more deeply into it, into the heart of the trinitarian life.
The rest of his address can be read here – and it is well worth your time, even worth printing it out as I have done for material for prayer. The stunning tapestries (click here) in the Cathedral of Our Lady and the Angels in LA are beautiful representation of the Saints in adoration. Why not join us in the chaplaincy in Manchester tonight – as we hold a vigil of adoration on this feast of All Saints, 9pm-9am.