Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
So, what is special about Wednesday, November 1st, besides being Annie’s birthday? In case you didn’t figure it out from the heading, it is All Saints Day. Thursday is All Souls Day and you can find a very thorough treatment of the history of both feasts on Catholic Online.

Historically, in some places the two days have been linked together with All Hallows Eve thrown in for good measure. (So, why do we dress kids like ghosts and witches instead of saints?)

As Church we celebrate the countless people who have gone before us. In the ‘good old days’ we talked about the Church Militant, that’s all of us here on earth trying to fight the good fight; we speak of Purgatory, or the Church Penitential, all those who are on their way to heaven and are being purified from the effects of sin; and we speak of the Church Triumphant, all who ‘made it.’

It’s about the journey we make to the Lord during our lives, here on earth and onward to eternity. That’s what we were made for: heaven.

We see people whose lives inspire us. We see the Lord in what they say and do, and we know the Lord is faithful to his promises. That’s why it’s not presumptuous to believe that hoards have gone before us, and we call them “Saints.” We know the names of some, but there are also the countless others known to very few who God knows, and we celebrate them as well. We want them to be our examples.

This next thought might sound like something right out of the ballpark, never mind left field, but since it’s World Series Week, why not?

Have you ever heard of the Church declaring someone to be in hell? Never. We might have a list of candidates we could suggest, but you’ve never heard the Church presume to declare someone eternally separated from God.

I think of hell as “conscious aloneness.” – forever! Chilling, isn’t it? And all this time we thought it was heat.

As for Purgatory, here’s my take. I die. I have not spoken the big “NO” to God. So, I haven’t banished myself for all eternity. But, there are bruised and unfinished relationships that I left behind. I think when I die, I see Jesus, but at a certain distance. The space between us is the total of all the spaces of unfinished and unrepaired relationships that I left behind. They are sort of laid end-to-end.

Those relationships are behind me, so how do I fix them so I can remove the separation between myself and the Lord? I can’t, but the people who are praying for me can. That’s how the ‘purging’ works. How often have you prayed, “May the Divine Assistance remain always with us, and may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.” My grandmother taught us that and we said it at the end of every rosary. She also told us we had to pray for the most forgotten soul in Purgatory.

(I asked her one time if that meant someone was really getting an awful lot of prayers, and she patiently explained that every time I prayed for the most forgotten person, someone else stepped in to fill the space. That meant I had to keep praying!)
One last thought. Why do we talk about someone going to heaven and yet say we want to pray for them? I think that in God’s time everything is an instant NOW! He hears all the prayers that will ever be offered for someone in his timeless NOW.

So when I go, be sure and pray for me because I know there will be “spaces.” And when you’ve prayed me close to Jesus, then I can talk to him about you. Happy All Saints.

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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