This week, on Nov. 1 we celebrate the Feast of All Saints. On Saturday, Nov. 2, we celebrate the Feast of All Souls. Friday we ask the saints, both the canonized, “official” saints and all the holy men and women in whom God’s grace has been victorious - which is the great majority of saints!!! - to pray for us. On Saturday we in turn pray for all the faithful departed.
All of us are connected in a great, interlocking network of care and concern, expressed in prayer. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s inner life of love, we are connected to each other as members of the Body of Christ. Since the Holy Spirit is stronger than death, all the cords of care and affection that knit us together in life do not cease with death. Through Christ we are still mystically, though really, connected with all those who have gone before us “marked with the sign of faith.” How this takes place is something we cannot now explain, but we believe that we still have a connection of mutual support that endures even the chasm of death.
The Christian doctrine of the “Communion of Saints” is all about solidarity; solidarity in the struggle for salvation, in the ultimate victory of good over evil, of life over death, of love over hate. We support, encourage, instruct and stand in solidarity with each other. Our celebrations of All Saints and All Souls are concrete examples of that solidarity in Christ. So take a few minutes to think about the saints you have known in your life: maybe a grandparent who had a rich life of faith, a coworker who always had an inner source of joy, or a teacher or coach who was unfailingly kind and fair. Be sure to ask for their help in prayer on All Saints Day. And who do you in particular wish to remember, support, and pray for on All Souls Day? We have a Book of Remembrance at Our Lady’s Altar in which you can inscribe their names. Expressing your prayer and concern for them in prayer will bless both you and them.
May our celebrations this week bring us hope and encouragement.