Death is uncompromising reality and it is the only truth, and no one can escape death. If you are born, you are subject to die. But as Catholics we have reason to rejoice even in death because we believe in Resurrection. Why I write this reflection because this month the church has allotted for us to pray for all our near and dear departed souls. Many parts of the world the people go especially this month to the cemetery to light the candles and decorate the graves of the deceased. The cemetery reminds us of many things. It is the most peaceful place on earth, and when you stand there you feel the calmness and silence of the place. It will make you think about yourself and the people who lay there. First of all when we stand there it reminds us that we are not permanent here on earth, secondly reminds that we still have time to repent and do good things in order to have a peaceful death and gain the eternal reward. Cemetery also reminds us that God is not going to ask us how we died but rather how we lived when you were given the gift of life. We read in the Gospel as recorded by St. Mathew chapter 25;31-46 regarding the final judgement, there he mentions “the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me……..Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me etc.” Here we have to pause a while and think which category that we belong RIGHT SIDE or LEFT SIDE Of the KING. These are the questions God is going to ask on the final judgement day, and basing on the answers you give will receive your reward. For this we have to be well prepared, and should grab every opportunity that comes along your way.
One day one of my friends asked me are you not afraid to live so close by the cemetery? (Because back in India the church, cemetery and rectory are in one compound), especially at night don’t you have strange feelings and some uneasiness to sleep. My answer was why I need to get frightened and feel uneasy. If ever I do so, I just pray for the souls of all the departed, moreover I do offer Holy Mass for them and encourage the people to do the same, because they need our prayers and our spiritual support for their salvation. Then he proceeded to ask me, When you go to the cemetery, does it ever make you feel creepy? Especially around sundown, are you afraid that some ghost is going to lunge out from the grave and grab your ankle? And here I asked a counter question to him, are you really believed in Jesus Christ, and His words? Sometimes we have been trained in our culture to think that the dead aren’t really dead. But the Bible teaches the dead don’t come back, they go to heaven the dwelling place of God or other places (like Purgatory or Hell) according to the deed that they have done in their pilgrim journey here on earth, and not living the expectations of God. However they get mercy if we really pray for them and especially this month of November. That is why I encourage you all to pray everyday for the departed and offer Holy Masses for them for the purification of souls. One day we are going to embrace the reality of DEATH.
Nearly everyone enjoys the change of seasons on Earth – from Summer to Fall, from Winter to Spring. Nevertheless, when some of us hear the word “change” it upsets us a lot and we say a big No to it. But in reality we are subjected to that phenomenon. One thing that we can be certain about is that our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He never changes. His love for humanity never changes. He remains the same showering His splendid blessings on us out of His benevolence. Therefore we need to understand that everything happens for a reason whether it is good or bad in our life because God is going to do something extraordinary in our life when He calls us for a change.
I know, so many questions remain unanswered in front of us. We need to understand that God has equipped us for this evil world. He has given us the commandments to live by and strategies to look into, to live this life in a more amazing and meaningful way. He has clothed us in full armor and His angels fight for us. He comforts us in times of trouble. So friends, don’t get upset about changes and brood over the things that are never going to benefit us, rather focus on your time God has given to you and do the best you can. Time never waits for us and it keeps on moving. Sometimes we wonder how did or where did these years go by and what did we do with the time and what did we achieve in life, and how many of our friends and relatives and our dear ones departed from this world leaving behind good things and at the same time a lot of pain. However, life has to move on, and we are led on by an unknown force (GOD) who energizes us to move forward. We can’t focus on both, God and on our idols, at the same time. We have to make a choice in our life in who we are going to put our hope in, because we can’t have both. One leads us to an everlasting life of peace, and the other leads us into darkness to be consumed by evil. So let us make wise decision by choosing God as primordial in our life so that we will never be worried and disappointed about the CHANGES.
National Vocation Awareness Week will be celebrated in our country November 3-9, 2019. Please ask Our Lord for more dedicated, holy priests, deacons and consecrated men and women. There will be Holy Hour Adoration November 3 from 8:45 AM until 9:45 AM. Please join us!
Congratulations to the following Faith Formation students who are receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation this weekend…
May God continue to bless them!
The month of November is very special in many ways. We start the month with the celebration of All Saints Day, followed by All Souls Day, remembering all the departed ones and praying for them in a special way on November 2nd. Every Saint is like a ray of light streaming forth from the word of God. We honor these great champions of faith, not because they did great things but did the smallest things in an extraordinary manner. I feel this is the great opportunity that the church offers us to look into our holiness and to make ourselves the best children of God, and at the same time reminding us that we are obliged to pray for all our beloved departed who had gone before us to intercede on our behalf.
The Saints in Heaven are in full communion with God. Though they are enjoying their eternal reward, they are still very much concerned about us. They are entrusted with the important task of intercession. He wants them to bring our prayers to Him and, in return, to bring His grace to us, not because God did not want to bestow His grace directly, but to remind us that those who do the will of God here on earth will get a special privilege to be part of God’s salvific work. They become powerful intercessors for us and participators in God’s divine action in the world. That is the reason many shrines are being erected on behalf of them in every part of the world. I would like to enumerate here some of the thoughts of the saints; St. Ignatius of Loyola says “If the Saints could do so, Why not I? Yes, I can surely become a Saint”. St. Alphonsus Ligourie says, “He who does not cherish a desire to achieve sanctity, may be Christian, but not a good Christian”. Saint Augustine says, “It is pleasant to see the Saints, to be with the Saints and to be a Saint”. St. Thérèse of Lisieux says, “I want to spend my Heaven doing good on Earth.” Now Let us look into our possibilities, is there any way that I can be one? Surely if you have a wish and will and above all a commitment to God’s Holy Will.
All Souls Day is a day annually set aside by the Universal Church to remind us the value of recalling our dear departed brethren and praying for the repose of their souls. One of the harsh realities of life is that all life eventually comes to an end. However our consolation is in the Word of God. In the scripture (book of Wisdom) we read: “the Souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God. What better place could we go to after death than into the hands of God?” What a beautiful way to describe God’s care for us. Do you remember when you were small and your parents took you up in their arms? You were in the arms of your parents. When we die God takes us up in His hands. We are in the hands of God. It is grace and mercy we will receive from God when we die, anything else that we will receive in the next life is of our own making, not God’s, and we have time to repent and reform before death. It is grace and mercy God wants to give us. So it is good to pray for our dear ones who passed away from this world, because we don’t know in what state of life that they are being called from the face of the earth. So let us pray in the month of November everyday “Eternal rest, grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”