ALL SAINTS AND ALL SOULS
1st & 2nd November
Remember Our Loved Ones
"He will destroy Death for ever." 1 John 3:2
Reflection for All Saints
At the beginning of a new millennium, the Pope looked back over a year of Jubilee. He then looked forward and gave us a project for the life of the Church today. What did he say? After 23 years as Pope, what was there left to say that would be new or revitalising? He challenged us to be holy! What on earth did he mean? Like the thorough man he is, John Paul spelled out exactly what he meant. Here are two key points.
1 . The practice of Sunday Mass is vitally important to our life. It should not be allowed to go on in a boring fashion. Parishes must gather around the Lord in a vivifying way. Let a renewed liturgy lead to a better practice of prayer, in community and in personal life.
2. The need for reconciliation is as relevant today as ever. We are to be a reconciled and a reconciling people.
This may not seem revolutionary at first sight, but when the crowds gathered around the Lord to hear his great address – his revolutionary teaching – Jesus began by saying, “Happy are the poor in spirit … the gentle … the peacemakers. Happy are you when people abuse you.” What kind of talk is that? What kind of sense does it make? Answer: it revolutionises the world. It turns everything upside down. The need to renew the Church is always with us. Whatever plans we make, they can only work if we give our whole attention to the Lord. “Be holy,” Jesus says, “as your Father in heaven is holy.” We will never join the company of the Saints in heaven, if we do not strive to join them here on earth!
Reflection for All Souls
In the grounds of a country house there was a secret garden, once beautiful, now all overgrown with weeds. No one had entered it for ten years, not since the lady of the house had died there in an accident. The grief-stricken widower became locked in spiritual darkness, and his young son became paralysed, absorbing into himself the wasting obsession of his father.
In this famous story by Frances Hodgson Burnett, it takes the arrival of a niece, Mary, herself recently orphaned, to bring life back into the house. She refuses to accept the doom-laden atmosphere of her new home, and with the help of a local lad, she discovers the secret garden, and together they restore it to life and loveliness. The paralysed boy is brought in on the secret, and when, for the first time in his life, he sees the beautiful flowers in bloom, he cries out, “I shall live for ever! I shall live forever!” Finally the grieving father, whom sorrow and obsession have nearly destroyed, discovers the children in the resurrected garden, and his soul, too, comes back to life.
This world of ours is like that country house. A beautiful place, it knows too well the sorrows of suffering, the pain of loss, the doom of death. The Secret Garden can be seen only by children, and in our life it is the grace of spiritual childhood that will enable us to see flowers in bloom, where once there were only weeds, to see life restored where life has been sadly ended.
The vision of heaven, the knowledge of eternal life, is given to us by the Lord in his miracles of raising the dead, and in his own resurrection. The Easter story is a story of a secret garden too. Like the children in Burnett’s story, the vocation of the children of God is to remind the adult world of the truths that children see. Death is not the victor, life is.
All Souls are called to be with God, and God is a God of the living.
Do not let this world paralyse you. Look on Jesus Christ and know that you “shall live for ever”.
Adapated from the Living Word, Saints and Feasts