We begin the month of November with two important feasts: The Solemnity of All Saints and the Feast of All Souls. These two Feasts connect us with the Church’s teaching of the Communion of Saints, which of course, stems from our belief in the Resurrection of the Body. The Christian faith is not some ethereal, head trip, it is rooted in our belief that our bodies will rise again on the Last Day when Jesus returns in glory. Throughout the month of November the readings for Mass turn our minds more and more toward eternity.
We traditionally call November the month of the holy souls – where we pray to the saints, our brothers and sisters in glory, to intercede for us – and we pray also, for the souls in Purgatory.
Here are some suggestions to make this a holy month of remembrance:
Go to confession. We should always keep in mind that we are one more day closer to eternity. Are we prepared for that day when Scripture tells us that we shall give an account to the Lord when we stand before the Judgement seat of Christ? How about recommitting ourselves to looking at the virtues and reflecting on a way we can work more on one of them - love hope, gratitude, encouragement, kindness, gentleness, etc.
Light a candle. Light a candle in Church or at home. Make a special corner and place photos of your loved ones who have gone and maybe your favorite saints. As you light the candle, say a prayer of thanks to God for your memories of this loved one and ask the intercession of the saints.
Visit the graves of the deceased. The Scriptures and the Church teach the respect of the body. The body is sacred, redeemed by baptism, and destined to rise again. The body we have now, although transformed by the power of the resurrection, will still be this body. We will spend eternity in our bodies. That is why the Church emphasizes the dignity of the body and so, the grave where our bodies will rest until we rise on the Last Day. We need to teach our children not to be afraid of death, but to see it for what it is, another step in our Christian journey toward eternal life.
Make a donation. One way to signal that you still feel connected to someone who has died is to make a donation to a charitable organization or to the fund for the poor at Church. In this way, we continue to remember our beloved deceased, and do good works in their name.
During November in a special way, I feel very close to all my family and the faithful I have known, who are now with the Lord. I feel this intimate bond with them and recognize more and more, that a very thin veil separates us and the next life.