All Saints' Day (All Hallows' Day, or "Hallowmas") is the Church's Memorial Day, a time to remember those who have died in the faith of Christ. It is traditionally celebrated on November 1, but may be observed on the first Sunday in November instead.
There is a boundary, set between the living and the dead. This week, that boundary will seem to be a bit thinner. This week, before the Throne of God, we will remember all saints and all souls, thus reminding us of the entire Communion of Saints. It is so easy in our modern culture to get lost in the secular rush of Halloween and trick-or-treat to forget that vital portion of the Church, those whom we love but can see no longer. They are members of the Church Triumphant, from their vantage point close to God, they help us who are still struggling. We in turn pray for members of the church suffering still here in this life.
Think of it for a moment, the vast, numberless throng from every nation, tribe, and people, standing before the Throne and the Lamb, clad in white robes, with palms in their hands. Christ, our Lady and the nine Choirs of Angels, the Apostles and Prophets, the Martyrs in the crimson of their blood, and the white-robed Confessors. All are there who in this life followed Christ’s teaching: the poor in spirit, the meek, the afflicted, those who hungered and thirsted after justice, the merciful, the clean of heart, peacemakers, and those who suffered persecution for Christ. Among those awsome throngs are those who were close to us, our family and friends, and not one of them has been forgotten by God, and they now share in the glory of “the Lord, the King of kings.
That then is the Communion of All the Saints; that "great cloud of witnesses," and with them, we who are gathered here in earthly assemblies around the Lord's table are all one Church, one Ecclesia, gathered in praise. This year is especially important to me, becuase by this time next year, my younger brother will, most likely, be counted in that numberless throng.
So, I pray that, as I continue on this journey, I will be less able to tell the difference between the souls of those I can reach out and touch, the souls of those I talk to every day, and the souls of those whose bones lie under decaying stones. All will become more and more jumbled into one. That's what the phrase 'the Communion of Saints'means to me.
Join with me (by posting the names) in remembering those who we still love, but can no longer see:
Almighty God, as You have knit together Your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical Body of Your Son Christ our Lord, so we remember:
my Uncle & Aunt
my Grandparents, my wife's Grandparents
one of my co workers
Men I have taken care of at Hospice
Give us grace so to follow these Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those inexpressible joys that You have prepared for those who truly love You; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who with You and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.