Sunday, November 02, 2008

All Souls +

All Souls' Day (c. 1882) - Jules Bastien-Lepage

Gospel Commentary for All Souls

By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap

ROME, OCT. 31, 2008 ( The feast of All Saints' Day and the commemoration of All the Faithful Departed have something in common, and for this reason, have been placed one after the other. Both celebrations speak to us of what's beyond. If we didn't believe in a life after death, it would not be worth it to celebrate the feast of the saints, and even less, to visit the cemetery. Who would we go to visit or why would we light a candle or bring a flower?

Thus, everything in this day invites us to a wise reflection: "Teach us to count our days," says a Psalm, "that we may gain wisdom of heart." "We live like tree leaves in autumn" (G. Ungaretti). The tree in spring blooms again, but with other leaves; the world will continue after us, but with other inhabitants. Leaves don't have a second life; they disintegrate where they fall. Does the same happen to us? That's where the analogy ends. Jesus promised: "I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in, even if he dies, will live." This is the great challenge of faith, not just for Christians, but also for Jews and Muslims, for everyone who believes in a personal God.

Those who have seen the movie "Doctor Zhivago" will remember the famous song from Lara, the sound track. The Italian version says: "I don't know what it is, but there is a place from which we will never return …"
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1 comment:

David Nybakke said...

Dear Ath, Great reflection and it leads me to ask a question that has been with me for a while:

as I understand of the 2 great commandments (Matt 22:38-40)we must love God first and foremost to then love our neighbor as ourselves;

can it not be the same with the beatitudes - the first beatitude: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:3) is the doorway to an encounter with God leading us through the rest of the beatitudes?

In "Poverty of Spirit" Johannes B. Metz writes, "Thus poverty of spirit is not just one virtue among many. It is the hidden component of every transcending act, the ground of every "theological virtue." Our infinite poverty is the shadow-image of God's inner infinity; in it, thanks to God's grace and mercy, we are able to find our full existence..."