|Commemoration of All the Faithful
Departed (All Souls)
Isaiah 25:6, 7-9
Psalms 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
This is All Souls Day. We remember and honor so many more dead this year than last. Death is much closer this year.
When I was in college in the late 70's, I remember reading Charles de Foucauld’s advice that we have death as our counselor. As an extrovert/intuitive type, living always for the next moment, it helped me slow down, to listen and be present. I sensed the importance of this counsel to the life of holiness.
In our American experience since September 11th, death has become our counselor. It has brought us greater awareness of the precariousness and preciousness of all life. We sense the vulnerability and suffering of so many around the world. There is an invitation to holiness in this.
So how are we to honor the dead today, this All Souls Day 2001? Perhaps we could add a bit of ritual into our lives, our homes this day. Gather friends and family to remember and pray together with pictures and candlelight and song (perhaps taken from Psalm 27, "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom should I fear?") Check out some of the Mexican traditions of making special breads and pilgrimages to mourn, remember and celebrate the lives of those who have died. ( I looked up ‘Day of the Dead’ on the web and found several articles. One site is www.mexconnect.com/mex_/dayofdead.html.)
As part of our prayer, let the words of John’s gospel penetrate and console: “everything that the father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me…for that is the will of my father, that everyone who sees the son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him up on the last day.”
Teresa of Avila left this maxim for her sisters and for us: “Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life, which is short and has to be lived by you alone; and that there is only one glory, which is eternal. If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing.”
Let us renew our spirits this day, as we join in communion with those
who have gone before us. O Sister Death, teach us the wisdom and
secrets of life. Teach us to live with the freedom of the saints,
living fully now, trusting in the Eternal Lover to bring life from death
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