There is a Mexican saying that we die three deaths: the first when our bodies die, the second when our bodies are lowered into the earth out of sight, and the third when our loved ones forget us. Our Catholic Faith forestalls this last death by seeing the faithful dead as members of the Church, alive in Christ, and by praying for them and asking their prayers for us.
In his homily on the Feast of All Souls last year, Pope Francis reminded us that, “Remembering these brothers and sisters of ours who lived before us and are now in heaven, is our hope and this hope does not disappoint. If we live our lives with the Lord, he will never disappoint us.”
“We are children of God,” he said, and we live in the hope of one day seeing God as he is. “On the feast of All Saints and before the Day of the Dead, it is important to think about hope,” he said.
The early Christians used an anchor as a symbol of hope, Pope Francis tells us, and “to have our hearts anchored up there where our loved ones are, where the saints are, where Jesus is, where
God is — that is hope. That is the hope that doesn’t disappoint.” The feasts of All Saints and All
Souls are “days of hope,” he said. The virtue of “hope is like a bit of leaven that enlarges your soul. There are difficult moments in life, but with hope you go forward and keep your eyes on what awaits us. Today is a day of hope; our brothers and sisters are in the presence of God, and we too, will be there in the Lord’s arms if we follow the path of Jesus.”
“Before sunset today, each one of us can think of the sunset of our lives,” the pope said. “Do we look forward to it with hope and with the joy of being welcomed by the Lord?”
As a parish family, we have invited all the families who have lost someone to death in the past year to the 5pm Mass on the Feast of All Souls on Sunday, November 2, 2014 at the Church of the Resurrection, Marmora. At this liturgy, we have invited these families to illuminate a symbol of remembrance and to bring a picture of their loved one to be placed on a table before the altar.
I invite not only the families to whom I have already written, but also you, that you might share in the hope of our faith and the prayers of the parishioners of Saint Maximilian Kolbe Parish.
At this Mass we will share in the hope of our Catholic Faith that our loved ones are not forgotten to the Lord nor to us.
May the God of all consolations be with you,
Bishop McHugh School link
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)
The ‘view’ from the rectory window is changing; the grass before the Blessed Mother is turning golder, the trees behind the pavilion are brightly releasing their leaves, and during my morning prayers I watch squirrels with full jaws hiding their acorns. Sometimes I hear the ping of an acorn dropping onto my little black truck and I remind myself that tonight I should park it somewhere else (which I never remember to do).
‘The times they are a-changin.’ Actually, the season has already changed. Quietly and unobtrusively that happened on September 23. But I hardly noticed. I was busy. Now I do notice. It is cooler tonight, and darker. It’s Fall.
Isn’t that the way life is?
You just go along, minding your own business, and all of a sudden something is different. Children grow up. Grandchildren appear. And then disappear as they mature. Health fades. Birthdays come and go. Loved ones pass away. Opportunities present themselves, and then they are gone. Life rolls along and something happens like the bright glory of the trees leaves that makes us stop and take notice.
In the spring and summer things move faster. Life seems endless and always expanding. Things grow and grow. New life emerges. Days grow longer. Often it is hard to keep up.
Fall is different. Fall is a season of change. Fall reminds us that nothing stays the same. Some changes are easy. Who wants to hold on to winter when spring arrives? Fall is different. It is a beautiful season, but winter is just around the corner. Sometimes change is hard.
Fall is a time of harvest. It is the intentional gathering of resources for life. It’s no accident that squirrels gather nuts, we pick grapes and apples, and we carve pumpkins. I hope we take time to notice, celebrate and appreciate the blessings in our life.
Fall is a time for thankfulness. Even when things don’t turn out the way we would like, it is hard not to be thankful at the harvest. Maybe it is no accident that the Thanksgiving holiday occurs right in the middle of Fall. Life is always more generous than we might realize, especially when we look back on it.
Fall is a season of generosity. I don’t think that it is a coincidence that as a parish family we do some of our most generous sharing in the fall. And generosity has a great power for good, because it involves the process of letting go, relinquishing, giving up something in order to help another. Generosity helps both the giver and the one who receives.
Well, it’s darker outside my window than when I began writing this reflection. A few more leaves have fallen. And a couple of more acorns just hit my truck.
“For everything there is a season,” as the writer of Ecclesiastes says. The day may be shorter or cooler, but there will always be something to harvest, something to share and something to give thanks for. I am grateful to share this time with you.
Sunday, October 19, 2:00pm
Church of the Resurrection, Marmora
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. . . So Jesus said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” Mark 2:1-12
How often I have thought that if not for his friends, this man would have never walked. I ask your help in assisting someone receive the healing grace that Our Lord offers.
In the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick I have witnessed first-hand, so many times, the movement of grace in the life of an individual and in the life of a family.
I believe this grace could be received so many more times if we move beyond what we may have previously believed about this sacrament; i.e., that the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is supposed to be offered to those who are dying.
In addition to those who are dying, the Sacrament offers the forgiveness of sins and spiritual strength and health for those:
Who suffer from the effects of advanced age,
And for those about to undergo medical procedures
Perhaps this is not your circumstance, but I believe we all know someone who could benefit from this gift. Perhaps, you are not sure. If this is the case, I offer you the simple rule that guides my discernment; when in doubt, we should err on the side of caution and offer the Sacrament to the faithful who request it.
The Effects of the Sacrament:
Besides this increase of grace, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, forgives sins, gives comfort and strengthens the soul of the person who is anointed.
- This is the grace that quiets anxiety and dissipates fear.
- It is the grace which enables the sick person to embrace God’s will and to face the possibility of death without apprehension and will aid in the salvation of the soul.
- It is the grace which gives the soul the strength to face and conquer whatever temptations to doubt, despondency, or even despair.
If you know of someone who could use these and the other innumerable graces associated with this Sacrament, I encourage you to bring them to this special liturgy. If not for you . . .