Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
November 2nd, 2009

Joan Blandin Howard

Christian Spirituality Program
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The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)
Wisdom 3:1-9
Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Romans 5:5-11
John 6:37-40

All Souls Day

And this is the will of the one who sent me that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day.

Today we celebrate All Souls Day. 

We celebrate, reverence and remember those who have gone before us.  We remember our loved ones – family, friends, colleagues, co-workers, neighbors and significant strangers.  We remember those alive in our hearts, and those forgotten in history.  We remember all who have gone before.

As I sit in silence and prayerfully reflect on my family – as far back as I can go – I experience a deep sense of connectedness. I experience a rich fullness. I delight in the stories of my adventurous great and grand - fathers who left home and family to sail the high seas, or travel across country in search of – what?  I am amazed at the courage of my great and grand – mothers who with children left their families and accompanied their husbands across oceans, fields and the Great Plains. I am fascinated by the unknowns that drew them on, and dictated when they had arrived.  What kept them going in the face of overwhelming hardships?  I am inspired by the rich diversity of religions, faith traditions and beliefs that color my story.   I am in awe of the accomplishments, of the endless giving, and selflessness of friends, family and significant strangers. I embrace those whose lives were filled with pain, anger, tragedy and apparent failure. I am filled with gratitude for this ever expanding community of blessed and redeemed humanity, the community of saints.  And I am equally grateful for the gift of the pain, suffering, and vulnerability they have shared and passed down via stories, diaries and letters. 

They are akin to the scriptural anawim  - the faithful, holy, little people, making their way step by step, day by day. To what end? What is it that connects us?

Just before today’s gospel verses comes:  I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.   

We are created with an intrinsic emptiness, an unquenchable thirst, a driving hunger, a holy longing which only God can satisfy.  This ineffable holy longing speaks to my innermost being and draws me to Godself.  The path may be slippery, rocky and convoluted, but the attraction is more than of tidal proportion. The path of my vocation, of my gospel story, like that of all who have gone before, is embedded in the holy yearning within.  It is the will of the Father that I, we, none of us be lost.  It is the Will that I have eternal life.  This holy longing, holy yearning for The Other connects us and keeps us moving singly, in family and in community toward the source of our longing – God.

The Good News is that it is the desire of the Father that I, that all souls, rest in the eternal peace of the Father in the community of All Souls.

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