November is a special time in our Catholic faith when we the faithful take time to remember and honor those who have passed away. In fact, the church has acknowledged All Saints Day and All Souls Day for centuries. As we celebrate those who have entered Heaven on All Saints Day and pray for the souls in purgatory on All Souls Day, we are reminded of what it means to live and die by our faith. Reflecting on the times in history when these holy days were established (609 AD for All Saints Day and 993 AD for All Souls Day) I can only imagine the challenges posed in daily living.
While some challenges have been eradicated over the years by evolvements in technology and medicine, times are no different now than they were back then. Emotional and physical suffering, political contention, grief, and violence are challenges our ancestors knew all too well. I reflect on their lives and am reminded that we are connected to our ancestors in our Catholic faith. It is our faith that has withstood so many trials and much tribulation throughout the centuries. Today, we are called to connect with those who came before us, as we look to our faith to guide us through these modern-day storms. We are called to turn our eyes toward God in hope of what can be and what is to come. We are called to ground ourselves in faith when the world around us seems chaotic.
It’s very curious that All Saints and All Souls Day fall so close to Thanksgiving. As we acknowledge death, we are also called to be thankful for the blessings God has placed in our lives. Even more so, we are called to be thankful for Christ’s sacrifice, as He opened the door for us all to enter into communion with Him in Heaven, further assuring us that the trials of this life will not follow us into the next.
As we continue to navigate the final months of this turbulent year, let us look to those who have gone before us. May we embody the same strength and faithfulness they did to find glimpses of hope in even the most uncertain of times.