The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)
Recently, I found myself imaging and asking what I would do if I stood in a room with two exit doors – one marked ‘my past’ and leading to a room packed with all the events of my life to date, and the other door marked ‘my future’ and this room would be filled with my dreams and hopes for the future. To make the choice hard, I imagined only being able to choose one of the doors – either to revisit the past or look ahead to the future.
Of course, this is an artificial choice, but one that might just be hard to make.
For some people relishing and celebrating the past with all its achievements or memories of exciting or meaningful times might be a fulfilling and happy experience. Perhaps too the past might just contain all those happy memories of loved ones who are not part of one’s life any longer and whose absence is deeply felt
For others, looking forward is their fundamental approach to life and they would draw energy from such a perspective. In some cases, people allow the future to lead them onwards and thus inspiration, dreams and hopes are strong drivers in their life choices.
Neither the past or future reality – or indeed the present moment – is complete without the other dimensions. Indeed, today’s feast, that of All Souls – speaks to the dimensions of past, present and future. We, the Church on Earth, in this moment honour and pray for those who have gone before us into the future life of heaven. We celebrate and place our trust in the promise of God that eternal life is not only their gift now but is also an inheritance that awaits us also.
The image of the Church on Earth praying for the Faithful departed, and in turn them praying for us is a comforting one. Today is one day where that reality is not only imagined but celebrated.
We offer our prayers to God today – prayers of gratitude or intercession for our dear departed precisely because we want to share their memory with God and because we believe that they pray for us too.
In our thoughts, prayers and Eucharist today let us all join in prayer. Let today’s feast be a rich, prayerful and hope filled time for you and those you cherish.