Thursday, November 02, 2017

All Souls--Day of Consolation

All Souls' Day is one of my favorite Catholic observances, and only the other day did I realize why. It goes back. Way back.

Me in fourth grade, the year
I started at that new school (and
the year of my Confirmation).
See, my godfather, Burke Weber, died six months after my baptism. And yet the way my parents referred to their dear friend established a relationship with this "Uncle Burke" whom I never knew in this life. (A chain smoker, he died of lung cancer in his 30's, before the link between smoking and cancer was common knowledge.) When I started a new school at age 8 and found myself for the first time without any friends, Mom suggested that I pray to Uncle Burke. For a week of lonely recesses, I tearfully asked Uncle Burke to find me a good friend. Preferably someone who liked to read. (Deborah and I are still friends.)

Having that connection to the next life from such an early age meant that my devotion to the Holy Souls predated even my devotion to the saints! It gave me a strong sense of the Church as a vast family whose members know and care for each other; a family in which I had a place of my own, and the ability to help even grown-ups who had gone before me.

When Dad died, our family experienced his presence in a variety of ways--especially through the appearance of paperclips in seriously unlikely places. (He was always asking someone for a paperclip to adjust his hearing aids!) Later, a couple of years after Mom's death, I was consoled to witness how that same sense of having relationships that transcend this life had been communicated to the next generation: My sister was taking a walk with her granddaughter when they came across a paperclip on the sidewalk. "Look!" my sister said, "Pepaw says 'hi'!" "No," the little girl said, "It's Memaw. I was just asking her if she was happy to be in Heaven with Jesus."

Devotion to the Holy Souls is one of the central devotions we have in the Pauline Family. We
dedicate the first Tuesday of every month to prayers for the Souls in Purgatory, and have a very special responsibility (and a prayer to go with it) for those who are undergoing purification because of their misuse of the media--whether they were primarily consumers or audience members or, more particularly, the writers, editors, producers, and marketing specialists whose work led others, even by the thousands, down unwholesome paths. Considering the exponential growth of communications technologies, it would seem that in our day we need all the more to pray for those souls, so that for their part, now finally and fully aware of the power of the media, they will take our part in promoting "all that is true...noble...right...pure and lovely" through the marvelous means of communication.

On this All Souls Day, pray that special prayer with us!

Jesus, divine Master, I thank you for having come down from heaven to free us from so many evils by your teaching, holiness, and death. 
I plead with you on behalf of the souls who are in purgatory because of the press, motion pictures, radio and television.  
I have confidence that these souls, once freed from their sufferings and admitted into eternal joy, will supplicate you on behalf of the modern world, so that the many means you have granted us for elevating this earthly life may also be used as a means of apostolate and life everlasting.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.May the rest in peace.Amen.

1 comment:

Ruth Ann Pilney said...

I enjoy reading your personal story about your love for the Holy Souls, Sister Anne. Your photo reminds me of my own Confirmation which happened when I was in 5th grade. We dressed similarly for that occasion. I was confirmed in Chicago by Cardinal Stritch. Sadly, there are no photos that I know of.