November: Praying in the Spirit with the Saints for Those Who Have Died
The seasons change; the leaves fall; the days get shorter; the readings at Mass speak of the end of time. It is natural for us
in November days to feel the somber mystery of death, and perhaps to find ourselves remembering those who have gone before us. The disturbing news and winds of war add another element to this human experience, threatening to rob us of hope for peace to return.
The Church responds to this human brokenness with words of consoling faith: “I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” Although this statement is at the end of the Profession of Faith, it is by no means an afterthought or of lesser importance. It is the goal of the entire journey of our faith here. We seek to live with Christ, day by day; one day, to die with Christ; but always so that we might rise with him and live forever in the communion of all the blessed.
As we celebrate all the saints this weekend, and pray for all the souls who still await the vision of God on November 2, we spend the month of November in thoughtful remembrance of all who have died. We ask that they will come to know in its fullness the peace and joy that are so elusive here.
For some, this loss of loved ones is recent and painful. For others, time has brought some measure of healing and recalling loved ones brings back cherished memories. For all of us, it is good to take some time in prayer to thank God for their lives among us, and to commend them to eternal life. Take the opportunity to think of those who have perhaps faded from memory a bit … grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors and friends … and remember what they have taught you, witnessing to their faith in God and their love for family and friends. Yet the bond in the family of God goes even farther. In our deeply troubled world, filled with sorrow and loss, marked anew with war and destruction, it is an abiding consolation to know that no one is ever alone. We pray for all who have died, thousands around the world each day. Their names and lives and hopes are unknown to us, but fully known to God.
We also thank those who minister so faithfully to those who are sick, to those near death, to those who suffer the loss of their loved ones, to those in war-torn lands and dire poverty. Thank those of our parishes, staff and volunteers, who take Communion to those confined to their homes and in the hospital, nursing homes, and elsewhere. Our sacristans, music ministers, funeral choirs, funeral dinner leaders and crews, office staff, and custodial staff also play important roles as we celebrate the Church’s funeral rites and provide hospitality. Those who reach out to friends and neighbors in times of need share in this same gesture of faith and charity. Thanks to all of you for your part in this work of mercy.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Please pray for our young people from Annunciation and Sacred Heart who will be confirmed next Sunday, and those from St. Francis Xavier and St. Stephen who received this Gift of the Spirit on October 15. The headlines often rightly trouble us, so it is good to remember that the Spirit of God is present and active in our lives.