The beginning of November marks a special time in the Catholic church. We remember and appreciate all “holy men and women of every time and every place”, as our wonderful priest explained during the homily at mass this evening. We also remember all the souls of our faithfully departed. For all of you trivia buffs, this is where Halloween comes from. Before developing into a pagan ritual, and now a cultural pathway for more shopping, it was a “Hallowed” (holy) Eve (night of course) to remember those faithfully departed. Even in Spanish class at our Catholic school we celebrate the Dias de los Muertes (Days of the dead) in the same hallowed reverence of souls.
What is perhaps equally important is recognition of the lessons and example of those around us in our lives now. Those friends and family who are earthly angels, saints-to-be, and even the souls who “grind” us the wrong way–perhaps even more important–as the sanctification of our souls so that we can live in eternity with everyone God has deemed worthy (probably not the list we would create and assume of those around us!) As Dr. James Keating says “You never know who your bunkmate in Heaven is going to be”. Imagine if it were the one person you thought you couldn’t spend five minutes with, nevermind eternity. Only in Heaven, we will be perfected of our little bothersome qualities, and the annoyances with others’ attributes. After all, God created them too, whether they realize it or not.
So this is the diving board for a project that has been percolating in my brain for years. To reflect on what the souls around me lend and teach me every day. Everyone is a piece of the great puzzle…God intended for us to share and learn from each other’s gifts. They are a path way to Him in His glory. The virtue of charity is indispensable for understanding this concept. I once had a theological friend who said “Hey Peter and Paul didn’t get along. They went their separate ways”, somehow a justification avoiding of a brother or sister that grates on our nerves. I propose something more difficult. What did this brother or sister teach me? How can I “become the best version of myself” (Matthew Kelley: see blog roll link) from having intersected with this soul? I am positive Peter and Paul, being the men of God that they were–and Peter holding those golden keys–knew as much and parted with the sense of the challenge having bettered themselves for being together in ministry.
So I begin an over-brewed idea; what has this soul taught me? My parents are both instrumental in my faith in God and love of life. I will begin many of these stories (based on real and beautiful souls) with my mom, one of the most unique and magnanimous creations of God. We will call her “Anna the Archangel.” Stay tuned and you will see why….