Greetings in Christ our King! We enter into this month of November remembering our beloved dead, and perhaps reminding ourselves that we are alive. Sounds like a strange thing to say, but it’s important to remember! One of my professors at Notre Dame started his class one day by saying “You are all going to die!” which definitely got our attention. But then he said, “now, how do you want to live?” We hear a lot about the “end times” in our Scripture readings this month, and the command to “stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
I often think about this, especially when God challenges us to be on fire, not lukewarm in our faith. How many times do I just let the day go by without really acknowledging Him? When do I miss seeing His face because I’m too busy to see what is really so obvious, that God is with us at all times and in all ways. This, of course, is a good thing to bring to prayer, especially when we consider how God wants us to live today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives. A good daily examination of conscience is very helpful in determining where we experienced God, and where we missed Him. It’s so important to give thanks for when we DO experience the Lord in our daily lives, and also to ask for forgiveness and help for when we missed Him.
The engine of discernment runs on daily prayer. When we push aside that invitation to pray, we push aside God, and find something else at the center of our lives. Sometimes we put too much pressure on our prayers of discernment, and we even make demands that God align His will to ours, instead of the other way around. Then we need a good dose of humility to remember who is the way, the truth, and the life!
As we pray for the dead this month, we also recognize the saints in heaven, those who are known and those who are unknown. Pope Francis recently likened the saints to stained glass windows in our churches – “The Saints are our brothers and sisters who received the light of God in their heart and transmitted it to the world, each one according to his own ‘shade.’ However, they were all transparent; they struggled to remove the stains and the darkness of sin, so as to have God’s kindly light pass through. This is the purpose of life: to have the light of God pass through, and also the purpose of our life.” That pretty nicely describes the call to holiness that you and I received at our Baptism. To open our hearts to God, to let his light shine through the gifts and talents we have, and then to share those in service to the Lord, through our neighbor.
I thank you for your prayers for the Holy Cross vocations team, and more importantly for those who are actively discerning God’s will, and how they may follow it more closely. Let us pray also for those who have died, and those who grieve the loss of a loved one. You are going to die….how do you want to live?