A time of remembering
November has been for centuries a special time when Christians remember the dead. It begins with the celebration of All Saints Day and All Souls Day (Nov. 1 and Nov. 2). The evening before All Saints Day is well known as “All Hallows Eve” or Halloween. It’s a time when Christians would festively remember the dead, saints and sinners alike, sometimes in imaginative parody. This has given rise to the parties and the fanciful costumes worn on Halloween.
The year is ending and Christians traditionally focus on the end of life and the time when we will go to stand before the throne of God. This is reflected in the readings chosen for church services. The season’s readings focus on death, the resurrection of the dead, Judgment Day, the blessedness of heaven and the pains of hell.
It’s natural for us at this time to think about those who have gone before us and pray that they are with the saints in heaven. This month many people will stop by the cemeteries in our area to be physically close to their loved ones and perhaps spend a few minutes sharing with them the thoughts of their hearts. We can’t hear them, but there has been evidence that by the grace of God, they can hear us. Many a blessed one in heaven has responded to the fervent prays of someone on earth. We therefore find consolation in the thought that when we speak to someone we love, they hear us and listen to us with love in return.
When we are with people who care about us, they often encourage us in our grief to focus our minds elsewhere and move on. To some extent this is good advice, but our love for those we’ve lost isn’t something we can turn on and off. We need times of remembrance. Times to savor the beauty of our love and our devotion to those we miss. November is such a time. A time for remembering.
Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Fr. Joseph Orr of Holy Spirit Roman
Catholic Parish, Lock Haven.