Monday, 2 November 2015

Liturgical Lifestyle | Remembering Our Dead

November is the month of the dead.

It's Hallowtide, the beginning of the month we give over to deceased souls, and while October is breathless and busy, November brings a dead-stop, like the drop of a curtain.  After today, All Souls' Day, comes a time of rest and recovery, for sitting in your bones and not doing, before the preparation and expectation of Advent.

I love November, I really do.  All of autumn is like one big, cozy bedtime, and I think that's why I love it.  It's the cosmic equivalent of getting into your jammies and slippers and sipping a mug of herbal tea in front of the fire before climbing under the quilt and turning in for the night.

Let me broken-record (verb) about how the seasons of the Church correspond with the seasons of the western hemisphere (where she was born).  How it's organic and natural and second-nature.  And if we feel a sense of something not-quite-finished, especially when we think of those gone before us, it is because we're not.  Finished, I mean.  Death isn't the end.  We know that as Christians.  But if anything of reality can be gathered from the natural world, it's that this November stillness is only temporary.  There will be work and new life and redemption to come.

So we pray for the dead.  Because, before the Incarnation, we could only hold our breath and hope, rightfully, that Someone would have mercy and not end us at what appeared to be our natural end.  And now our hope is given hands.  With the dying God, we can work because He is pleased to see us do for one another.  So we pray for the people who have died in good faith, and ask that for them the way is made smooth and brief.  Which it then is, because our Father is one who delights in giving gifts.

Please don't forget them.  Don't think it's "the end," even a happy ending.  Because before the fairy tale's happy end, the peasant girl doesn't go in rags to her wedding feast with the king.  She must be prepared.  We will go on knees in the graveyard and paint our faces like death's heads to jar ourselves to remember.

Please remember my loved ones, and yours.  And remember me when I go, too.  We're all the walking dead, which is a good thing.  You have to put the peasant girl to rest in order that the queen might live.

Here is my Hallowtide summary from a few years ago.

Here is St. Gertrude's Prayer.  When prayed it releases a thousand souls from Purgatory into Eternal Glory.

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