Today’s feast of All Souls summons powerful waves of memory for each of us and recalls the richness found in human relationships. As we pray for our beloved departed we are immersed in the recollection of so much shared with those who have walked ahead of us into the mystery of eternity. This is a day for gratitude, for sorrow and grief, for deep prayer. More than all else, this feast invites us to renewed hope.
Death severs the cords of relationship binding us to others. In loss we are reminded of how deeply our own lives depended upon theirs. Sharpened awareness underscores how much richness and blessing friends, relatives and even common strangers brought to our lives. In grief we are brought up short in humble awareness of how little we can do, accomplish or achieve without the support of others. The power of death is real and unkind; loss diminishes us.
Thanks be to God for the gift of our Christian faith! Today’s readings sound notes of joy, of triumph, of victory. Our true focal point is the Resurrection of Jesus. The source of our hope is God’s stunning power that broke the chains of death. And faith holds the promise of reunion with all who have gone before us. We are reminded of those invisible bands of divine love that keep us and our dead bound together. For, truly, they are not dead, but eternally alive by his triumphant love. We and they are one people, one church, held together in His eternal heart that flames with life and joy. He works so that, one day, all who have believed will be united and eternally praise His unsurpassed goodness.
Fr. Jim Thoman, C.P. is the director of St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat Center, Detroit, Michigan.