Thursday, April 23, 2015

What's in a Name?

“Into the company of the blessed” is a phrase I’ve come to know and love from old collects and devotional prayers.  A prayer from Flowers of Piety (1840), for example, asks God that “I may believe in Thee, put my whole trust in Thee, love Thee above all things, and through the merits of Thy death and passion, be admitted into the company of the blessed, where I may praise Thee forever.”

In this prayer, the phrase clearly refers to the saints and angels who praise the Lamb forever.  This is the goal of the Christian life, to be with Christ and His saints in our true and lasting home.  To see Him and know His love completely is the greatest blessing of all, the promised rest at the end of this life’s struggles.  The hope of everlasting life and the communion of saints are among the strongest strains in my own spiritual life, themes toward which my meditations and writings often turn.

This fellowship, what the Eucharistic prayer calls “the blessed company of all faithful people,” begins here below, in the common life of the Church.  Christ has called me to serve Him as a pastor and priest, and He has given me the precious gift of the care of souls.  The Book of Acts describes the apostles as bound together in a “company” (15:22), those who live cum pane, sharing bread and life with one another.  Even as I hope to join the company above, I work to strengthen the company below.  Every day, I pray, teach and work, so that those committed to my care might “grow up into Christ,” being bound together in love (Eph. 4:12).

Christ is the source of blessing, He who is “God above all, blessed forever” (Rom. 9:5).  He is the Bread of Life, who shares His grace freely with us (John 6:35).  To be admitted “into the blessed company” is above all to know and love Him, who is always in the midst of His beloved.  

1 comment:

  1. Well, I see you have found even more to do with your time! A good beginning--