The Feast of All Souls Day

[Scripture Readings: Is 25:6a, 7-9; Acts 10:34-43; Jn 14:1-6]

Fr. BrendanThe words Jesus spoke to Martha about being busy about many things could be
said doubly about our society. People like to come here on retreat just to
step out of their busy lives for a few days. Little do they know that life in
the monastery can become very busy too.

One of the practices that are falling by the wayside in our busy culture is
visiting the cemetery. There are a lot of voices claiming our attention,
clamoring as it were, for our time, but none of them are coming from the
dead. They have no voice. This is so because they really have no place in our
society. Dying and death are removed from our sight–out of sight out of mind.

Here in the monastery we suffer some of the ills of our society, but perhaps
not as grievously. Our cemetery is right outside our door and our rule of
life reminds us to keep death before our eyes daily. We may try to do this by
force of our will but eventually this mental gymnastics gets tiring, and we
forget about death. But as we go along our journey of life, we realize there
is a shadow that follows us as we walk in the sun. A shadow has no substance;
it can disappear in one instant, reminding us that nothing is permanent. The
process of dying begins at birth and follows us all through life-a friend at
our side. St. Augustine said, “Just as a doctor pronounces over a sick
patient, he is dying, he will not recover. So we must say from the moment a
man is born: he will not recover.” L. Boros The Mystery of Death p. 9

The monks cemetaryEvery civilization has been aware of the intimate connection between life and
death in the living and the intimate connection between the living and the
dead. Our civilization seems to be working mightily to forget this
connection. So the Church reminds us today not to forget, not to erase from
our memory death in life and those who have died.

How do we do this? I think by searching for something that endures, something
that is permanent, and something that crosses over with us to the other side.
And what is that? St. Paul tells us “love alone endures.”

A person we love may be gone, may have died, but the love we have for them
and the love they have for us still lives in our heats. It will endure
forever. Forever because Jesus has restored our eternity. He has deposed
death; death no longer reigns supreme. He has taken away its sting, its
permanence. His death sanctifies our death. Our act of dying can be the most
personal act of our life a total giving over-a handing over of our life with
Jesus to the Father. We prepare for this final solemn vow by keeping death
daily before our eyes and by giving ourselves over to the daily death of the
cross. The cross of self we carry in our being, the absence, the
estrangement, the alienation that penetrate deep into our being-down below
the surface of our life. The daily battles we have with ourselves occasioned
by living in community are lifelines bringing us into the deep-making us
aware that our spirit is a foreigner here. We are incomplete. Today we pray
out of our incompleteness, and we pray for those who have gone before us and
are still incomplete. Those who are being purified and being prepared for the
full weight of glory.

Thanks to Hermanoleon Clipart.