ALL SOULS DAY
November 2nd is observed in the Catholic Church as the Feast of All Souls, a day on which we solemnly pay tribute to all whom we trust have died in Christ. We pray for them and we believe they pray for us. For we who still walk the earth, we take the time to remember our loved ones and ancestors who have gone before us, and we reflect upon our own mortality and the hope of heaven.
There has been so much death and mayhem in the last month, that I was especially eager to get to mass this morning and to rest in the comforting arms of holy mother church. The weather today could have been sent from a Hollywood casting agency: the sky was dark, the wind was blowing dead leaves about, and the threat of rain hung like a funeral pall over the scene, as I made my way up the path to the church.
Our pastor wore a vestment of black with some white and gold in it. I thought this was an especially appropriate symbol of our relationship with death. The black, to me, represents the harsh reality of the sin which caused and still causes the corruption and decay of life. The sting of death, the separation and the fear of passing through its dark portals paints a dark picture indeed.
Black says its final,
you may not peek through it,
it is a lack of, an absence of,
light and life.
It is supposed to hurt, to be sad, for it was not the Father's original plan, but the natural consequence of a fallen world.
The white in the vestment, however, posits the counterpoint to death: life will come from death, it is indeed not final, in all things Christ will triumph! He is the light of the world, He came to bring life and life abundant, He is the beginning and the end, and just as white light contains all the colors in the spectrum within itself, so Christ will redeem all creation and keep us in the fellowship of the blessed, forever!
The gold is just another way for us to see Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, who shines on and lights the way for all eternity. Gold reminds us of the richness of our faith, and the Glory of the world to come.
"Death is swallowed up in life. O death, where is thy victory, O death, where is thy sting?"
As for we who plod on today, let us take time to remember all the souls who have left this earthly plane, and also offer up this prayer for all those, whom time and obscurity have forgotten:
A Prayer for the Forgotten Dead (taken from Catholic.org)
O merciful God,
take pity on those souls
who have no particular friends and intercessors
to recommend them to Thee, who,
either through the negligence of those who are alive,
or through length of time are forgotten
by their friends and by all.
Spare them, O Lord,
and remember Thine own mercy,
when others forget to appeal to it.
Let not the souls which Thou hast created
be parted from thee, their Creator.
May the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
(image from http://deaconpathomily.blogspot.com/)