The Power of Memory
As the chill of winter approaches when leaves fall from the trees and we spend more time indoors, our thoughts go inward as well. The month that is dedicated to raising awareness of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, Native American history, hunger, diabetes, and AIDS is also the month marked by our remembrance of the first Thanksgiving, Veterans’ Day, and the feasts of All Saints and All Souls. We can do none of these things without the gift of memory and the ways in which we remember others is perhaps our most spiritual act this month.
To remember those who have gone before us, like our veterans this past week, and our families the weekend before, is always bitter sweet. We thank God for them, we pray they are with Him, and yet we are reminded of the sadness we feel that they are no longer with us as they used to be. Our faith gives us great gifts to help us in these moments move from our sadness to peace as we harness the power of memory to create new relationships with our deceased.
The most obvious way we are remembering our beloved deceased this month at Sacred Heart is in our altars of the dead in our foyer and our church as well as our pop-up cemetery with the names of family members we are unable to visit in distant cemeteries and our book of remembrance on our Eucharistic altar. With a picture or a name, they are present to us once more and make us feel more connected. We will keep these memorials up until Thanksgiving and you may still add to any of them if you like.
In our tradition, we most typically remember our beloved deceased through the lighting of candles, saying rosaries, and/or having masses offered for them. As we light a candle or have a mass said for their eternal rest (arranged with Dee in our front office) we send up prayers for their good and are reminded that nothing separates us if we live in faith, not even death. Next month we will also have, the opportunity to sponsor Christmas flowers as a way of memorial.
Perhaps the most beautiful way that memory leads to spiritual peace is when we take our memories and let them fuel our Christian duty of service to others. You may wish to take on a ministry they used to do, from lectoring, ushering, or becoming a PSR instructor to pass on the faith they gave to you. You might start a new ministry in their memory. If perhaps you are unable to do one of these, you may always make a donation in their name to sponsor needed items, supplies, or repairs for the church.
It’s funny how the same memories that pull us into our thoughts also pull us out of ourselves into praying for the good of another, but once we pull that focus off of ourselves, and turn to God for comfort, He has made us one again and there is no power that can separate us.
With a heart for Mission,