Friday, November 2, 2012

All Souls Day

Today we remember and pray for our loved ones who have gone before us. For those left behind, the pain of loss remains. This eases a bit over time, but the memories remain. Pictures, videos, letters and emails remind us of what is no more. Sometimes we feel cheated, wondering why our loved ones were taken too soon; or, why they suffered such pain until end of life. But what we have to remember . . . must remember, is they are safe and at peace in the hands of God, no longer suffering as they did on earth. How beautiful is that? If we believe, truly believe, in Christ and in heaven, we will be reunited with our loved ones. So, enjoy the pictures, videos, letters and emails of days gone by.  Thank God for the time He allowed us to enjoy the love and blessings we encountered with those who have passed. Know they continue praying for us even though we can't hug or kiss them anymore. Since the birth of my grandsons, I think about how much my mother and father would have loved these little angels. I will be sure to teach them about their great grandparents, showing pictures of a life lived the best they knew how to. I will pass down traditions I learned and participated in since I was a child. I will make sure my grandsons know, despite any difficulties which may arise, they are deeply loved. When Jesus decides it is my time to go home, I know I will have loved with all my heart to the best of my ability . . . just as my mother and father did.  

Todays first reading (Wisdom 3:1-9) is one of the most comforting when feeling the loss of a loved one:

The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace. For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; they shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the LORD shall be their King forever. Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Lessons in Love, she perfectly expresses the connection which remains long after the death of a loved one:

"When loved ones die and go before us, they do not experience this as a separation because on separating from their bodies, they enter into truth and the truth is that there are no separations, no time. All is present and our loved ones see that those moments of true intimacy have remained, to be instantly reclaimed upon reunion. So many people, when grieving their lost loved ones say, “I wish my loved one knew how much I loved him or how much he hurt me, or how sorry I am that I hurt him or how grateful I am to him or how grateful he should be to me.” This is painful and unnecessary because once our loved ones die, they do know these things. They know exactly where they failed in love and exactly where they succeeded in love. The Creator created each one of us with such love and such tenderness."

Lay apostles, what can you do today to remember a loved one who has passed? Pull out the old videos and enjoy the beauty of a precious gift from God? Teach your grandchildren about traditions and where they started? Reread beautiful emails sent by a soul who touched your life briefly but with great impact?  Today I want to share an email I received from a woman I met at Rosary Congress in New Orleans a few years ago.  Although we only spent 3 days together, she impacted my life in a way I will never forget.  She died on the operating table the morning after she sent her response:

Dear Barbara,
I have to tell you something about the night I "rested in the Spirit." After I got up, I saw you sitting there and felt I had to be in your arms, like a child needing its mother to comfort them. You know my mother, God bless her, had mental illness and I grew up very fast at age 13. I never had that "mother" to comfort me. I have always done the comforting. I didn't want to leave your arms. I can't explain it. Tears are streaming down my face as I write this. Good tears. God gave me a few minutes of what it felt like to be safe and secure. I will never forget that feeling. It must be what my daughters have always felt when I've comforted them (and still occasionally do!). So, it was a special night in more ways than one! You have profoundly affected another person in this crazy world. More than you know... Love, Bonnie 

Bonnie, you are so easy to love! It was the most natural thing in the world to hold you and be such an intimate part of your first resting in God's Spirit. It was a privilege and blessing to me that I will never forget. You are daughter and friend all in one and I can hardly wait to see you again. God bless you, ... Barbara

Thank you, Lord, for my parents Winnie and Ted, and all those who You have placed in my life, even for a few days such as Barbara.  Continue to teach me to count my blessings in all people I come in contact with on a daily basis, loving with all my heart and soul.  Oh!  Mom, Dad, and Barbara . . . keep praying for all of us who love you down here!!  

God bless,

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