reminds us of the wonderful doctrine of the COMMUNION OF SAINTS, which is the
inter-connection between the faithful on earth, the souls in purgatory and the
saints in Heaven - all who are one in the Mystery of Christ.|
1st: All SAINTS
1st November, when we commemorate ALL SAINTS, it is not only those canonised by
the Church that we have in mind, but all those who were incorporated into Christ
by Baptism, for it is He 'who is our sanctity.' This is the biblical sense of
the term 'saints' used by St. Paul in his letters for all Christians.|
Ireland paid ritual honour to ancestors; this was carried
over into the Celtic Church as the feast of Samhain and, from
there, into the calendar of the Universal Church.
All our dear ones
who are in God's presence continue to care for us and encourage
us on life's journey.
* * * * * * * * *
2nd: ALL SOULS
SOULS are remembered on November 2nd. We refer to them as the 'Holy Souls', because
they are saved and are awaiting entry into the Blessed Vision of God. This is
what we call Purgatory.
is a great mercy of God, a matter more of healing than of punishment; God does
for us there what we had neither the courage nor love to do while we were in this
life. St. Catherine of Genoa tells in her writings that, after Heaven, Purgatory
is the happiest place in the universe.|
The Holy Souls
are longing to be with God and so they are willing to be purified
in order to do so. In his poem the Dream of Gerontius, Bl. Cardinal
Newman describes how the person who has died, once it has seen
the Face of the Incarnate God, is so smitten with love and longing
to dwell in the beauty of that countenance that it plunges into
the cleansing flames in order to be worthy to see that Face again.
we, together with the Saints and the Holy Souls, are one in Christ, we can help
those in Purgatory by our prayers and they can help us.
interesting feature of the Knock Apparition is that, in 1879, when Archdeacon
Kavanagh had just finished offering a hundred Masses for the souls of those who
had died in the famine,|
Our Lady appeared at the Gable wall; hence devotion to the Holy Souls features
much in the private devotion of Knock.
* * * * * * * * *
has two feasts of the Dedication of Roman Churches, that of the Dedication of
the Lateran Basilica on 9th and of the Basilica of St. Peter & Paul on 18th.|
the Liturgy, the dedication of a church is considered to be a feast-day of Our
Lord, because it is He Who is the True Temple. As He said to the Jews: "Destroy
this temple and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2: 19) It is only
from Jesus that true
rises up to the Father. We too are temples with Him.
"You are the temple of the living God," St Paul tells
us. At Baptism the Three Divine Persons come to take up their
abode within us.
This Indwelling Presence is at the centre of Carmelite spirituality.
Elizabeth of the Trinity, a French Carmelite, canonised last
month in Rome, whose feast we celebrate on 8th November, made
this the guiding truth of her life. She wrote: "I have
found Heaven on earth, since God is Heaven and Heaven is in
used to say that her special mission after death would be to help people to live
in intimacy with the God within.|
* * * * * * * * *
21st: PRESENTATION OF MARY
November 21st, we have the well-loved commemoration of the Presentation of the
child Mary in the temple by her parents, Joachim and Anne.
legend comes from the Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal gospel, dating
approximately from 200 AD.
But, even if it is not historical,
it indicates the veneration of Mary from earliest times. Mary, herself, was the
Ark of the New Covenant, the temple or sanctuary of the Incarnate God for nine
We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God.
* * * * * *
year comes to a conclusion with the feast of Our Lord Jesus,
Universal King, doubly significant this year, as it marks
the conclusion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
This feast of Our Lord's Kingship is "not a feast of
those who are subjugated" writes Pope Benedict, "but
a feast of those who know that they are in the hands of
One Who writes straight on crooked lines".
His is a gentle
yoke, an easy burden. He is the Shepherd King, always following
and searching for us, like the Hound of Heaven in Francis Thompson's
poem. "I fled him down the nights and down the days. I fled
him down the arches of the years . . ." but "those strong
feet followed, followed after".
|Shepherd King, o'er mountain
your straying sheep.
Keep within the royal fold
states and kingdoms new and old.
Angels, saints and nations sing,
praised be Jesus Christ our King. (Breviary)