Posted November 19, 2010:
Now They Know

by Fr. Bob Wild.

When we think of the saints, we usually think of the known ones, the canonized ones, those whose feasts we celebrate. But when I was praying the Office one morning, I came across this line: He who keeps his pledge, come what may, who takes no interest on a loan and accepts no bribes against the innocent, such a man will stand firm forever (cf. Is 33:15-16).

When I read that line, I stopped and thought about all the unknown people in heaven—millions and millions of them.

There’s so much pain and suffering in the world and so much evil, but this world that we know is only part of the drama. The rest of it takes place in the afterlife for all eternity.

Jesus said, "Blessed are you who are poor; yours is the kingdom of heaven" (Lk 6:20).

Think of all the poor who have died, the poor of all the ages of the world. The slaves of ancient Rome and America, the exploited farm workers, factory workers, and miners, the poor of Africa and India, the poor of the modern ghettos.

Millions and millions of people. Millions of poor who are now in the kingdom of heaven. Now they know that God is just and faithful to his promises.

Jesus said, "Happy you who are hungry now; you shall be satisfied"(Lk 6:21). Yes, now those who were hungry when they were on earth—those who hungered for food, for love, for truth, for justice—are satisfied beyond their wildest imaginings. Now they are satisfied, and now they know that God is faithful to his promises.

Jesus said, "Happy are you who weep now; you shall laugh" Lk 6:21). Think of all the tears that have been shed throughout all the centuries of the world. Oceans and oceans of tears. God promised that he would dry every one of them.

Now God has dried those tears. Now those who mourned know. All these people laugh and know that God is faithful to his promises.

Jesus said, "Happy are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy, for then your reward will be great in heaven" (Lk 6:22-23).

These people, too—the martyrs for God and for peace and justice and all who suffered under oppression of any kind, now are dancing with joy beyond imagining. Now they, too, know that God is faithful to his promises.

I had this vision of millions and millions of unknown people who suffered, often unjustly, and who now know that God is true and that he was always on their side.

In our own lives we often wonder if God really loves us, if he really sees our pain, if he will really win the battle.

But millions of people have suffered as we do and questioned as we do. Now they are with God; now they know.

We rejoice with them. And we ask them to pray for us that we too be faithful to what we know in our deepest hearts to be true.

God cannot be conquered; in the end he always wins. Always.


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