When preparing for our current Formation series on the Saints, I was drawn again to the New Jerusalem Bible translation of Ephesians 2.10: “We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up our way of life.”
Yes, the Church honours particular men and women who down the ages have shone especially brightly with the light of Christ in their generation, heroes and heroines of the faith, if you will. Yet they would be the first to say that this was due not to any merit of their own but to the working of God’s grace in and through their lives. God’s grace moulding them into God’s work of art.
We find elsewhere in Ephesians and Paul’s Letters references to members of the Christian community as “the saints”, eg Ephesians 2.19-22 and 1 Corinthians 1.2: “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.”
Honouring the Saints then, reminds us that we too are called to be Saints, Holy Ones of God, shining with the light of Christ in our generation. Like the ones entitled Saints, we can only do this by opening ourselves to God’s grace, saying with the Blessed Virgin Mary, “Let it be to me according to your word,” allowing this grace to mould us into “God’s work of art.”
Next time you look in the mirror, pause for a moment. “You are God’s work of art!”
Smile, and be thankful.