November is a melancholy month. We are urged to remember, not only by holiday sentiment, but by nature itself, all the people and events not only of the past year but of our lives. There is something in the air in November, the turning leaves, the cooler days that turn us inward. Nature asking us to stop between the heat and the coming cold to reflect, to both cherish and regret, and if regretting, to correct.
It is the correcting part where I have to place my hope. And hope is one of the cardinal virtues which brings me back around to the earliest teachings and yes, swaddling influences of my life.
Despite the trash talk and controversies and who holds power in the Vatican-- that is all ancillary and distracting from the theology and spirituality of which I was not only baptized into in the back of St. Clare's on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception some 56 years ago, but I was immersed and yes, again, swaddled in the mysteries and the lights and shadows and the lives of saints and gospels stories in the stain glass around the marble church.
And the sanctuary lamp.
The red flame and the gold doors.
All the activity, prayer, songs readings and gestures all focused on who was housed there in the form of consecrated bread.
Not something to be scoffed at or dismissed. No, there was a great mistake in that movement, but that is for a different time.
Here is what I hope: I hope that with our natural time of reflection and feasts of All Souls and All Saints, the communion of saints which uphold us and upon whose shoulders we rest, I hope and yes, I believe, that the mistakes and misunderstandings can still be corrected, forgiven, absolved, not only by God, but by those we miss and mourn, by those we can finally see in a different light, a kinder light, a more generous and Christian light. And they, us.
I hope this, not only for theological or spiritual reasons, but for very human needs, because if our regret stays stuck in the physical fact of our loved ones not being here to touch, to have that last conversation, that last hug or apology, how do we cope?
Perhaps it is my age, (some would say i am in the November of my life) perhaps it is because I now have grandchildren and all the years of family stories and people I carry within me and are carried forward by my children and grandchildren, or just the nature I was graced with, but I am not able to see death as the end, but just one chapter of a much longer life, and because of that, I hope.