Sunday, November 1, 2015

More than a memory

Someone once referred to November as a month of remembrance. At first it sounded OK and then I realized there was something that sounded not quite right.

St James commands us to pray for one another (5:16)

St. Paul commands us to pray without ceasing (1 Th 5:17)

When do these commandments expire?

The Christian answer is never, because the underlying commandment "love one another" does not end with death but is perfected.

November is the last month of the liturgical year and so we focus on last things: the final judgment, Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell, and all of our loved ones who have preceded us.

In a special way we focus today on the saints in heaven and tomorrow on those who are still being purified for entry into heaven (purgatory). The two days call for two different kind of prayer.

Today, All Saints Day, our eyes are turned towards those whose souls already surround the throne of God. They pray without ceasing, praising God and continuing to fulfill the commitment to pray for one another, they pray for us. We do not pray for them, because they have reached the goal. We petition them to pray for us,and because they love us perfectly now, they can petition the Father perfectly.

Tomorrow, All Souls Day, our eyes turn toward those who have not yet reached the fullness of heaven. Few if any of us leave this life free of baggage, perfectly able to love God and love one another. Therefore, her faith teaches that there is a final purification that must take place, before we can enter into heaven. Tomorrow refocus our attention on those whose to undergo that process. Tomorrow our prayer is not petition but intercession. We intercede with the Father for them, continuing to fulfill the commands given us by St. James and St. Paul.

Our love and our loved ones do not end at death, but are brought to completion. Therefore, even after death prayer continues. Yes we remember, but we do much more than remember. We look forward to the day will be reunited with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.