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Archive for November 3rd, 2013

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Today is November 2nd, All Souls Day. In my quiet time prayer this morning, I am aware of this. I hold two holy cards of Tom’s parents in my hand from my Bible. Many scriptures of blessing flow in my consciousness and from my open, loving heart. Many of the dearly departed, whom we pray for in the Mass, seem to drop in for a brief visit. I remember their gifts in my life.

These “ghosts” are much more real and enduring to me than the ghosts of recent Halloween night. And right after that candy-giving and image-popping experience came the Feast of All Saints Day, celebrated in the Catholic Church. Here, we call to mind the examples and prayer lives of saints, whose history has been shared down through the years by dedicated writers who wished to carry the faith forward.

Surely I have been influenced by many, none more vividly than the Mother Mary and St. Francis of Assisi. While I don’t aspire to Francis’ loyalty to stark poverty of owning nothing (not even wanting his brothers to own a bible), I do practice his dictum of “preach always, use words if you have to”.  Even though writing, hence the use of words, falls high on my praticum scale and prayer practice, I subscribe intently to both: “actions speak louder than words,” and “walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk”.

What does come up for me though as I remember All Souls Day in the early training we got  was this. To think of the fiery locations of purgatory and hell and that when we remembered our loved ones and dearly departed, we were focused on prayers to “get them out” of purgatory, and purely lament them if we thought their errors had been so great that they were condemned forever to hell. That pretty much wiped out thinking of them in a relaxed and gracious memory.

What I believe today is that this exit from our earth, via death, is always an attainment of being either closer to God and God’s universal, all-completing love, or a realization of the Oneness Jesus came to tell us that we actually are with God.  “I am the Vine, you are the branches.”  “Do ye not know that I and the Father are One?” And so many other scriptures, based on love, verifying….”I Am the Resurrection and the Life!”

Yes, I think I do not know much of what Jesus is repeating over and over again. And so I, myself, repeat over and over again readings of any part of the Bible, asking for the “ears that hear.”

But I do hear of Oneness, and Resurrection and Life. So I do not believe in death.  I hear the two great commandments of Love. And so I do not believe in fiery punishments in our passage. I believe I experience either heaven or hell right on Earth, and that in my faith and my lessons, I will pass beyond the veil of sufferings, fire and hell. I believe I experience heaven right here on Earth when I unite in Oneness with God in my daily life. And after death, it will be an even more complete experience, because God is where I came from and I am simply returning to my God….life unending and indescribable to me at this time.

I think the meaning of this is described in the term, “Endless Genesis” which comes from Teilhard de Chardin.

I believe that most people, including myself, are doing the best they can in life. I believe that when we know better, we can do better.  I believe that the purgatories and hells that we can experience, we do so as consequences of our own actions, that have no basis in love.

I’m going with that until the time it doesn’t seem to serve the highest good. For now, I can experience a holy and satisfying All Souls Day, in gratitude and forgiveness of all that exists between myself and my ancestors, family and friends. Ninety-nine point nine percent is gratitude for the being and heritage that went before me that gives me my gift of life today.  There were hardships, there were gifts. There were sins or mistakes, there were upright and noble actions. There was desire and purpose that were fulfilled by souls carrying out their destiny.

I now stand in the middle. That’s what I’m doing. Having entered into the elder generation, I can look back and I can look forward to what is to come in the children’s and grand children’s generations.  I stand my ground. The ground upon which I stand is not built of sand, but of rock.

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