Pastor's Corner 110313

posted Oct 30, 2013, 7:34 AM by Music Director

               The second full month of autumn begins with the ancient festival in honor of All Saints: those we know through the church’s official process of canonization, and those who may be known only to God and those who knew them personally, who lived lives of great faith, hope and love.  The earliest saints were more or less acclaimed by the communities in which they lived, particularly those who were martyred (see Revelation 16, 18, 19).  The formal process that is observed today goes back only to about the 10th century.  Since the Church formally recognizes only a fraction of those who are truly saints in eternity, All Saints Day gives us the opportunity to honor those who do not have an official day on the Church’s calendar.

               Furthermore, this feast reminds us that all of us are called to sanctity.  In his writings, St. Paul instructs us on the original meaning of sainthood:  being baptized into Jesus Christ and following Him with all our hearts.  (See Romans 8, 12, 15, 16; Ephesians 2; Colossians 1)  In that sense, the “communion of saints” is the unity of all believers:  those who dwell on this side of life, and those who have gone on to eternal life.

               The saints in heaven serve as models for our own Christian living.  They pray for us constantly that we may share the life they now know.  They inspire us by the fact that they are as human as we are, and so serve to remind us that eternal salvation is not only possible but guaranteed, as long as we strive to the best of our abilities to live saintly lives

               Beginning November 2, the Commemoration of All Souls, the remainder of November is set aside to remember and honor our beloved deceased, and pray for those who may not have completed their journey to the fullness of the Kingdom (the “souls in purgatory”), entrusting them to the mercy of God. 

               From the very beginning, Christians have responded to death with great hope.  Consequently, when it strikes those we love we celebrate that hope, even in the midst of our grief that is both natural and necessary.  In keeping with St. Paul’s sage words of advice in his first letter to the Thessalonians (4:13-14), we “do not yield to grief, like those who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, God will bring forth with Him from the dead those also who have fallen asleep believing in Him.” 

               Though it has evolved over the centuries, Christian ritual has sought to express that hope.  It is why, for example, white vestments are worn by the clergy at funeral liturgies and commemorations of the faithful departed.  Thus, All Souls Day and Month are not necessarily somber commemorations, though we miss our loved ones dearly.  Rather, we celebrate our hope that if for whatever reason they haven’t fully “crossed over” to the fullness of heaven, they soon will; and that we will someday be together again with them.

               Do we still profess belief in purgatory?  We sure do!  But rather than as a “place,” think of it as time:  time beyond death to “purge”ourselves of whatever it is that holds us back from completing our journey to the fullness of life with God and all the saints.  Isn’t it wonderful that God loves us SO much that He gives us all the time we need, even after death, to rid ourselves of the attitudes, the sinfulness that still cling to us?  We share in that love, too, when we pray for the souls who may still be in purgatory.  Our prayers for them give them even more grace to overcome those attitudes and finally see the face of God and share in the fullness of eternal life.

 

Let’s go Eagles!!

In His Love,

Fr. Mike

 

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