Happy Feast of All Saints! Today the Catholic church remembers all those who have died and are enjoying the presence of the Blessed Trinity in eternity. These are the "undocumented" citizens of heaven--so to speak--who are not written up in catalogs of saints. Yet, these people remained faithful to Christ all their lives. They are the "cloud of witnesses" that the Letter to the Hebrews speaks about. I think of my grandparents who worked hard all their lives, prayed daily and loved God and all their neighbors. My maternal grandmother gave our whole family an example of stepping out for Christ by helping battered women whom she knew to get help. She knew how to lend a hand, to give a smile and to be a great friend to all her bingo friends in her old age.
I think of my Dad who helped many relatives and friends to find gainful employment even when times were hard. I remember my Mother on Valentine's Day sending me to the farm house down the road to the old Ukrainian widow lady who lived alone. Mom made sure I brought her some cake and candy to show our affection for her. My parents always found space for someone in need. One needy person was a young high school graduate who lived at our house for four years until she could find herself emotionally ready to face life. When my youngest brother was a teen one of his friends was locked out by his mom's new husband. He stayed at our house for a year. Today is the day when we thank God for the communion of Saints--our membership in the Church which connects us to those who have gone before us in the Body of Christ.
The gospel read today was that of the Beatitudes. Some call these the blueprint for a holy life. Matthew and Luke both give us the blueprint. Matthew's version is more detailed. It begins in chapter five with the Sermon on the Mount. I plan to reread these blueprints and meditate on them.
Tomorrow we will celebrate All Souls Day. We pray for those who have gone before us, yet yearn to enjoy the fullness of eternal joy.
One of our early Sisters used to pray 100 "Eternal Rests" whenever she had to make a long journey by car, train or plane. By eternal rests I mean this short prayer: "Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord. and, may perpetual light shine on them. May they rest in peace. Amen." Sister's devotion often came through when she told us of graces she received through "the poor souls" as we often referred to the deceased.
May the Holy souls intercede for us as we begin this month of November.