Today, with our whole Church we celebrate All Saints' Day honoring the holy ones, known and unknown, who show us the way to union with God - to holiness and complete happiness. Their lives resemble brightly colored stain glass windows through whom the light of Christ radiates, and their colors illumine our lives. Reflecting today on these saints, I pose to you two questions:
Do you think there any Dominicans in heaven?
What do you want to be when you "grow" up?
Since I am a Dominican, naturally you'll expect me to say, "Yes" in response to the first question. But would you be surprised if I told you St. Dominic wasn't so sure? Let me explain.
In our Dominican tradition we tell a little story that goes like this:
One day while at prayer St. Dominic was gifted with a vision of heaven and came face to face with Jesus! Dominic was awestruck and filled with joy. With eyes wide he began to look around the celestial realm but gradually, his joyful countenance began to change. At first he looked puzzled and then sad. Jesus noticed this change right away and said, "Dominic, what's the matter?" With eyes downcast, and with some emotion in his voice, Dominic answered, "Lord, I am sad because I do not see any of my Sisters or Brothers here!” Smiling, and with a twinkle in his eye, Jesus calmly replied, "That's because I have entrusted them to the care of my Mother!" With that Mary unfurled her mantle to reveal countless Dominican women and men who had set out to follow Jesus in the footsteps of St. Dominic!
Artists throughout the ages have depicted this comforting scene, and I am delighted to share with you a contemporary rendition by Dominican artist, Sr. Thoma Swanson, OP, titled "Under Mary’s Mantle."
I invite you now to look now at the silhouette below. Can you imagine your face there?
That brings me to my second question - What do you want to be when you grow up?At different ages, we answer differently. As children we may say, "I want to be an astronaut, a veterinarian, a doctor, a firefighter, a teacher, a police officer, a lawyer, etc." As an adult of any age who has not yet reached full maturity, we think less about actual professions and reflect on God's transformative grace at work in our hearts, where we may sense a deeper calling if we listen carefully.
In conversation with serious spiritual seekers, I feel privileged to hear quite frequently something that sends chills up and down my spine every time I hear it - spoken almost in a whisper as they reveal their precious dream, I hear, "Sister, I want to be a SAINT!" May this always be our heart's desire! Is your place waiting under Mary's mantle?