Today, for those who are not following the church calendar per se, is All Souls Day.
In Western Christianity, All Souls’ Day commemorates the faithful departed. This day is observed in the Roman Catholic Church, churches of the Anglican Communion, Old Catholic Churches, and to some extent among Protestants. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes several All Souls’ Days during the year. All Souls’ Day is also known as the Feast of All Souls, Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed (from the Latin Commemoratio omnium Fidelium Defunctorum), Defuncts’ Day (in Mexico), or Day of the Dead (in Hungary, France and Italy).
While for many, this feast goes uncelebrated or commemorated, I find that it has over the years provided me not merely with a good space and time to remember those who I have lost over the last year, but to also remember in prayer those others who have also lost friends and loved ones. Indeed, for some, this day has played an even larger role in their lives and ministries.
Abbey Jules Monchanin was convinced of the great importance of his prayer for “all the dead of India” as part of his mission to India, as part of the convergence of all mankind upon the Christ of the Day of Judgment.
Louis Massignon and Charles Foucauld were both converted to Christianity by the witness of Islam to the one living God. Someone wrote of Foucauld (and his devotion to the dead of Islam): “For a mystic the souls of the dead count as much as those of the living; and his (Foucauld) particular vocation was to sanctify the eternal Islam- for that which has been is forever- in helping to give a saint to Christianity.”
I pray that today as you remember those in your life, and in the lives of your friends, who have passed on from this world, that you will experience the peace of Christ and the company of the great assembly with you. For in grief, as in life, we are never truly alone. Yet, Christ and all who dwell with him in light eternal are with us as well.
I leave you with this prayer from the Liturgy of St. James:
Remember, O Lord, the God of Spirits and of all Flesh, those whom we have remembered and those whom we have not remembered, men (and women) of the true faith, from righteous Abel unto to-day; do thou thyself give them rest there in the land of the living, in thy kingdom, in the delight of Paradise, in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, our holy fathers, from whence pain and sorrow and sighing have fled away, where the light of thy countenance visiteth them and always shineth upon them.
grace and peace today as we remember….