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Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me,
“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?”
I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.”
He said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
 they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7)

And so it is. We are told that on the "other side," in Heaven, our robes will reflect who we really are -- and chiefly, our purity. They will be like spun cotton and spun glass (once purified). In this world, we struggle moment to moment not to sully them -- with thoughts, with actions, with words and worldliness. Darkness is as darkness has always been: a result of imperfection, a product of sin. The more we sin, the more we live in darkness. Saint Thomas Aquinas said that "sin darkens the intellect." So it does. It is why so many cannot comprehend the supernatural. It is why so many cannot acknowledge what is Light. In sin, as in a dark room, we stumble around. We stub a toe and can't figure out why we have such bad "luck." We can't understand the spiritual side. This darkness is worldliness, which is when we pay too much attention on the constructs and systems of man at the expense of focusing on God. Many in religion  adopt worldly methods. There is no compromise. We seek union with Him or with physicality. We must operate in the world but not be of it. We are darkened when we choose mammon, when we fall to that temptation, when we try to be "cool," when we exalt those who are "celebrities" and politicians and billionaires and media gurus instead of the saints of Heaven, who speak of humility. So many try to have it both ways -- one foot in Christianity, the other in worldliness, in business, in politics, in entertainment, judging others on the basis of the world's standards. It cannot be. We are of one or the other. Darkness is blindness. If the world -- and worldly -- don't know you, know (said Jesus) that it's because it did not know Him. If it did not acknowledge, if it did not exalt, Jesus, how can we expect the worldly to acknowledge us? The rich will continue looking upon those who are less wealthy as less worthy. Here we seen the influence of the devil, the "prince of this world." With each sin comes a cloud. It clouds the intellect of those who are "smart" in a worldly way but who remind us of what the Bible describes as those "always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 3:7). Prayer brings truth. Brightness marches in with the saints. They are saints because they have reflected light. They are saints because they rejected worldliness. It is their perspective we seek. Invoked, they reveal the truth of an eternity where all is brilliant and all the darkness of this place of exile dissipates; in Heaven there is only and always a brilliance beyond the strength of any light on earth.

[resources: Praying with the Saints for the Holy Souls in Purgatory and A Scriptural Guide to the Saints]

[see also: Pope Francis says saints are those who turned their backs to the devil]

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