The Week Ahead: All Saints And All Souls

This coming week November 1st and 2nd we celebrate the Feasts of All Saints (Nov 1) and the Feast of All Souls (Nov. 2nd). 

I think this is one time of the year for me when the impact of what it means to belong to a Catholic and Christian faith tradition forcibly strikes home.

It's also a special time of year to reflect on time past, passing and things eternal; to reflect on the fleeting passage and temporal finitude of life . I find it awesome and humbling to recall all the humans who have ever lived and died since humans appeared on this earth.   
Fr. Richard Rohr's words here on being caught up in the two opposite movements at the same time: the mysterium tremendum and the mysterium fascinosum, are timely.

It is a time to remember, give thanks and prayers for deceased members of family, friends and all those I have loved and whose memories are precious . It's a time to thank and pray for the countless Christian witnesses that have shaped my faith and life.

This post from last year incorporates some of my own particular personal remembrances of family loss and also the poem "In Memoriam" by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

I have always believed that these two days in November are especially significant "Holy Days", liminal "thin" spaces which exert a strong call to reflect on the importance of relationships, past and present.

I posted a piece last November on "Spiritual Rhythm " and so have added it again below.

Christian faith is always embodied, down-to-Earth and real and so we have  these "seasons" both literally and figuratively in our lives. Year on year we move through them and try to make sense of them in our day to day ordinary lives.

In  Mark Buchanan's  book, Spiritual Rhythm, he says:

"Eternity hides beneath the guise of each season's beauty. 

That beauty is  eternity's sleight of hand, the trick it uses to bedazzle and bewilder  us, to take our hearts' longing and make it appear and disappear right before our  very eyes.  
You think you crave the summer of '69, or whatever summer  you were young and in love. But that summer was only a dress rehearsal for what your heart really wants: heaven.

The everlasting flits beneath earth's swiftly fading beauty. 
God sets eternity in our hearts, and it tells us not to despair of the burden.

It warns us not to be overcaptivated by the  beauty. 

For though we want the burden lifted and the beauty prolonged,  God has an infinitely better idea: that the Man for All Seasons would walk with us in season and out...."

What always amazes me is that God can be head over heels in love with this both beautiful and at times wretched world.

Maybe that is why the month of November stirs us up so much , because it lays open our restlessness ....

Maybe if we take the time to listen, we can hear Heaven whispering in the burden God lays on us.

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Mexicans, other Hispanic cultures joyfully celebrate the "El Dia de Los Muertes", the Day of the Dead. It starts at midnight on 31st October and continues until 2nd November. The traditional mood is much brighter with emphasis on celebrating and honouring the lives of the deceased, and celebrating the continuation of life; the belief is not that death is the end, but rather the beginning of a new stage in life. 

The tradition of El Dia de Los Muertes is being steadily integrated into non Hispanic cultures in many parts of the world.

Other Posts From My Archives

Click here for my post from last year: a post that combines All Saints and All Souls Day.

Click here for last year's post on All Saints Day November 1st.

Click here for last year's post on All Souls Day November 2nd Why We Pray For The Dead.

Click here for this one from 2011 on All Souls Day.

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Other blogs

The Jesuit blog at Ignatian Spirituality. com has compiled a useful set of links to remember Ignatian holy people in a special way on All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and the feast of All Saints and Blessed of the Society of Jesus (November 5). 

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