November 2, 2021
All Souls Day
The Lord is my shepherd;Psalm 23: 1-3
I shall not want.
You make me lie down in green pastures
and lead me beside still waters.
You revive my soul
and guide me along right pathways for your name’s sake.
But even for us who believe, it’s a somber day.
Because we just don’t know, do we? We believe. We hope. We trust. But we just don’t know
- how life can seem to end so finally
- why love’s cord seems to break, or at least to tangle
- where they go when they leave us
- when we will see them again
That’s why I think that, in many ways, All Souls Day is for us, the living. The act of corporate remembrance lets us hold up before one another these profound “unanswerables” while saying, “Still, I believe; I hope; I love.”
We give one another strength on All Souls Day to choose eternal life in a world that often casts only a deadly shadow.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,Psalm 23: 4
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff comfort me.
Today, we participate in a treasured spiritual exercise for us – those who remain:
By our holy remembering:
- We bless in our departed beloveds what – in life – we might have taken for granted.
- We cherish their goodness and acknowledge their weaknesses.
- We consider that our love and longing for them is but a pale reflection of God’s own.
- We release our dear family and friends into that Immense Love.
As part of the great Communion of Saints, we release even those who have no one holding on to them. By our prayer for them, we attest our love to a heavenly family we have yet to meet.
Our dear Catherine McAuley said this, even in a time when she was faced with constant loss and bereavement:
On All Souls Day, we do think of it – and are consoled by a quiet, indescribable joy.
You spread a table before mePsalm 23: 5-6
despite anything that troubles me;
you have anointed my head with oil;
Indeed, my cup is running over.
Surely this goodness and mercy follows us always
and we will dwell in your house for ever.
Poetry: Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179) – O Shepherd of Souls
O Shepherd of souls and O, First Voice through whom all creation was summoned, now to you, to you may it give pleasure and dignity to liberate us from our miseries and languishing.
Music: Stand in the Light – Jordan Smith
As we remember all our faithful departed today, we pray that we may all stand in the Light.