A Reflection by Sister Donna Fannon, MHSH
In this autumn season the colorful leaves proclaim the glory of God; they usher us into the month of November and remind us of the coming of winter. November is the month the Church dedicates to the remembrance of the saints in heaven (those officially recognized as well as those kept in the memory of family and loved ones), all of the dead who are in the hands of God, and the people of God still on their earthly journey—the entire Family of God. As we enter into this remembrance we may find ourselves flooded with memories of those who have gone before us. We may find ourselves praying for them, and perhaps even to them, for strength and direction in our own lives.
We also might be moved to examine our own life and ask for inspiration in order to follow the example of Jesus more closely. We might remember the stages of growth in our journey to maturity: the early years focused on ourselves, our dreams and the development of our careers; and the later years with our search for a deeper meaning to our lives, our need for community and true friends, a deeper appreciation of family and a recollection of the influences that have contributed to forming us into the persons we are today (and will become in the future). So many gifts we have received from God through others…and so many gifts we each have to share with others!
As I reflect on my own life, a Scripture passage that comes to mind is The Beatitudes [Mt 5:1-12]. Reflection on the passage draws me into the mystery of the interconnectedness of all things and of our radical dependence on God for everything. This passage happens to be the Gospel reading for the feast of All Saints Day. Many people have seen this passage as a mission statement for any person who loves God, loves God’s creation, and hopes to see (and relate to) each person as a child loved by God. It certainly reflects the vision of Jesus.
The lives of the saints offer examples of how to live out the Beatitudes. Christ calls each of us to this lifestyle and if we look carefully at our life in the presence of God, we will discover ways to respond to God in the midst of our loving service to all of those we encounter each day.
For further reflection:
“Deep within our conscience we discover a law which we have not laid upon ourselves but which we must obey. Its voice, ever calling us to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in our heart at the right moment….For we have in our heart a law inscribed by God….Our conscience is our most secret core and our sanctuary. There we are alone with God whose voice echoes in our depths.”
–Catechism of the Catholic Church #1776 (adapted for inclusive language)
God, our Father, source of all holiness,
The work of your hands is manifest in your saints,
The beauty of your truth is reflected in their faith.
May we who aspire to take part in their joy
Be filled with the Spirit that blessed their lives,
So that having shared their faith on earth
We may also know their peace in your kingdom.
–From the prayers of the Church for All Saints Day