One of our columnists, Alex Basile, wrote me an email last month and signed it, “In Christ, Alex”. But I had a weird moment of spiritual dyslexia and saw it as, “In Alex, Christ”. After I realized my mistake, I laughed. It seemed to be an expression of my mindset. Lately, I’ve been trying hard to cultivate an awareness of God within myself. In moments of upset or loss of peace, I place my hand on my heart and look inward; finding that peaceful “place” where He dwells inside me.
At Mass, I’ve been marveling at the abject humility of the King of the Universe becoming present in the guise of a humble piece of bread in order to come to us and nourish our souls; to dwell within our very bodies. This awareness has increased my reverence for the Mass, especially Holy Communion. Check out this video about the power of the Mass, and this one about its origins. They’re both set to inspiring music and only take a few short minutes.
To return to my moment of dyslexia; this strange mental revision of Alex’s signature turned into an online conversation with the staff of this site, about how our work bears fruit only because Christ is actually within us. AC columnist, William O’Leary, suggested we take the idea as our theme for November, and several of us have decided to do just that. Thanks, William! Check out William’s brief, but stirring message to catechists, Peggy Clores‘s challenge to RCIA directors, Mary Lou Rosien‘s beautiful column about loving her special needs child, Ellen Hrkach’s powerful column on God’s plan for marriage, Mary Ellen Barrett‘s sharp new column on the New Age, and Christine Capolino‘s touching reflection on our role as prayer warriors. Marc Cardaronella’s got a special look at the unifying theme of all catechesis. Don’t miss it. On separate but equally important themes: Alice Gunther‘s delightful childhood tale of St. Thomas Aquinas; and the incomparable Christian Le Blanc‘s latest Bible story gem. Steve McVey’s new column talks about evangelization in its various aspects in nice, simple lay terminology. What a great month. Thanks, columnists!
Please stop by and catch up with my new, weekly column on catechetics at Patheos.com!
So, here we are in the month dedicated to praying for the Holy Souls – those beloved lights flickering with hope – so near to heaven, but suffering the inexpressible agony of their final purification. There are wonderful prayers available, a terrific little book I recommended last month, and many opportunities in our day-to-day work, prayer, and worship for making appropriate offerings for the souls in purgatory.
Here is St. Gertrude the Great’s prayer, often prayed after Holy Communion, which greatly benefits the Holy Souls as well as living sinners:
For those of you caring for the dying, end-of-life decisions can be confusing and stressful for the family, so please do consult good Catholic resources when facing these situations. I’m very blessed to have a friend – a superb Catholic bioethicist, by the name of Dr. Gerard Nadal. He sent me this wonderful resource:
“The National Catholic Bioethics Center has a 24/7 emergency hotline for these situations where one may speak with top flight Catholic bioethicists about what the Church has to say about the particulars of their loved one’s condition.”
(215) 877-2660 [24 HRS, 7 DAYS/WEEK]
My family and I attended a beautiful All Hallows celebration on October 31st. The children all dressed as saints, we had a saint-guessing game, pumpkin carving, bobbling for apples, donuts on a string, begging for soul cakes, a skit about the Last Four Things, lots of good food, and much song and prayer, including Benediction. At the end of the day, the many jack-o-lanterns were lit from within with blessed candles, representing our imperishable souls within perishable bodies. Before heading out into the cold and windy night, we knelt by their flickering light to pray the Litany for the Holy Souls; a tender and moving experience I will never forget.
May God grant you peace and much joy as you prepare to give thanks for His every grace and blessing. Happy feast of All Saints, All Souls, and a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving!
Holy Souls, pray for us!
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Founder, Amazing Catechists
Author, “Be An Amazing Catechist: Inspire the Faith of Children”
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