We begin our church calendar in November with the feast of All Saints, and the feast of All Souls. My friend, Maggie calls me up on All Saints’ Day and says “Happy Feast Day! Today is all of our feast day!” How beautiful! She is correct. These two days in the church calendar mark God’s special creation in each and every soul He ever made. Each one of us was created for a very special and specific purpose. That is why it is so important to commemorate the dear ones we have lost. The first of these two days celebrates the saints that recognized their special purpose and worked diligently with the Lord to do His will, through prayer, the sacraments and self-sacrifice. Each one of us is called to this way of life!
Another friend of mine, Rita, who grew up in Mexico, shared a beautiful tradition with our prayer group. She said each November, her mother would write the names of all the beloved relatives who had passed on little slips of paper, and then put all those papers in a jar. Each day before school, each of the children would pull a name out of the jar and pray for that soul all day.
I decided to try this with my children this year and have already found that when the weekend hit and we had forgotten to draw names, the kids were disappointed and asking to make up for the lost day by picking an extra name. They said that they do pray for the souls (even though they have never met 90% of them) and they enjoy doing it.
I started the process a few days into the month and thought what a beautiful way this is to remember to include our dear ones in our prayers of thanks toward the end of the month, and keep cherishing what they brought to our lives as we head toward the hope of the Advent season.