Today is All Souls’ Day, which has acquired various meanings. For a large part of the church, it is the finale of the commemoration and remembrance of the faithful departed—from All Hallows Eve and All Saints’ Day. Traditionally in the Roman Catholic Church, it was the day of prayer for those in purgatory, so that their stay and release from there would be expedited! In Mexico, today is the consummation of el Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead). It is a joyful, festive celebration honoring those who have passed on.
For many centuries, the beginning of November has been associated with death, as the leaves fall and the earth prepares for its slumber. But it is also a time of “thin places,” where our realm and the realms beyond draw near. It is a time for visitation between the earthly and the celestial. Thin places are not restricted to this time, however. They can appear anywhere and anytime.
I am reminded of Dag Hammarskjöld’s meditation in Markings:
“Tomorrow we shall meet,
Death and I—
And he shall thrust his sword
Into one who is wide awake.
But in the meantime how grievous the memory
Of hours frittered away.”
The passing is not without its sadness, but all will be changed in the new creation in the limitless love of God.