We are just a few days away from the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls. It’s times like this that I am reminded how much I love the Liturgical cadence of the year. November is the Month of Holy Souls. A time of change, darkness sets in earlier, vibrant colors fade away, and animals head into hibernation. It also coincides with the end of the Church year and the reminder of our own mortal “end” and what lies ahead. Not usually something we like to think about! But, there is a certain beauty in honoring the souls that have touched our lives and paved the way before us. Since it’s not something I wanted to just blow by in one day, I decided to start a little early to prepare as a family. Granted, this is about as simple as it gets, but I entrust the rest to the Holy Spirit. This is our little mantle for All Saints Day (Nov.1) and All Souls Day (Nov 2.):
Here’s a breakdown of what we have displayed:
We went around the table and wrote the names of the faithful departed. Those (mostly within the last year) that we have loved and lost, and want to remember in a special way. This was surprisingly emotional for me (although I’m always emotional, so that should’t be a surprise! ha). It was a very powerful time of recollection, joy and somber reflection after writing the names of each soul.
Anita Kennedy, Mr. Costanzi, Grandpa, Francois, Ruth Howser, Louis Zamperini, Abigail, and many others.
The clock. I included this as the centerpiece behind the crucifix as a tie-in to both All Souls and All Saints day. A reminder that our minutes are numbered, and we must love and serve God and others with the precious time we have. Inspired by the following story:
“Once there was a king who desired not to forget that, like other men, he must die, and he had a man whose duty it was to come before him each hour and repeat the words: “Remember thou art mortal!”
That is, every hour he had this man remind him that sometime he would have to die. Each time the man came in before the king, he was reminded that he had one hour less to live; so, each and every time that you hear the clock strike, you should be reminded of the fact that another hour has passed, and that you have one less to live. In this sense every clock has a tongue, and when it strikes it tells us that we will now have one hour less to live upon the earth.
Redeem the time: Ephesians v. 16
“Did you ever stop to think that a man who is thirty-five years old has had five solid years of Sundays? And the man who is seventy years old, has had ten solid years of Sundays? With the years given to worship and the study of God’s Word, a man at seventy ought know a great deal concerning the teachings of the Bible. May God teach us so to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
With that, I also printed out Psalm 90: 12:
“So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”
I also have my Dad’s memory card from his funeral service (Love that strong smile. Miss you, so much. xoxo). As well as holy cards of the Saints (the Church Triumphant) and a blessing cup chalice.
For All Saints Day, I purchased “Brother Francis presents The Saints Coloring and Activity Book” for Mr. Gus (although this is probably better suited for 5-10 year olds).
I’m hoping we can get to the cemetery over the weekend and pray the Rosary too. Oddly, it’s one of my favorite things to do as a family (I know that sounded weird, but it’s really not..trust me)! Lol. I love praying for the families as we stop at each grave stone. These are people we will never know this side of heaven, but the Lord hears the prayers and applies grace to the people/families who need it, and I just love that.
Do you celebrate the Feasts of All Saints and/or All Souls Day? I would love to hear how you observe them!
Finally, I wanted to share a “soul exercise” I ran across Fr. Ed Hays’ blog. He says the following:
Today the soul is commonly considered to be the totality of the self as a living conscious subject. But what are your thoughts about the soul? One thing for sure, talking about or to your soul would make you more conscious of its invisible mysterious existence. If you care to experiment, the following examples can be a beginning of your own Soul Language Lexicon.
*Coming home tired: “Oh, my poor weary soul, I’m dead on my feet.”
*During a long sermon: “My sorry soul aches for him to stop preaching.”
*Upon winning anything: “O my soul, dance with joy—I’ve won!”
*Finding place to park: “Look, my soul, an empty parking space. God is good!”
*Awakening at dawn: “O my soul—I’m alive! I’ve been gifted with another day.”
May God bless your soul! xoxo