November: A month for remembering
“We are companions on the journey, breaking bread and sharing life; and in the love we bear is the hope we share for we believe in the love of our God, we believe in the love of our God.”
This refrain is from “Companions on the Journey,” a popular hymn by songwriter Carey Landry. It celebrates the unifying power of the Eucharist. It is one of my favorites of the many hymns that we often sing at Mass.
Communion of saints
It is a refrain that I especially enjoy singing during the month of November. During this month the Church invites us to explicitly pause and reflect on how we are part of the Communion of Saints, the mystical union of the faithful to which we are joined by our baptism and our sharing of the Eucharist.
At one time, I learned from my teachers that those of us still alive on earth were known as the church militant. We are those still striving to live our faith as we meet the challenges of each day, relying on the grace of God.
I also learned that in this mystical union, we are joined with those who have gone before us in faith. This includes those still in the process of purifying their souls through suffering in purgatory. We pray for these persons trusting that God will bring them to fullness of life.
Finally, we are united with those who are sometimes called the “church triumphant.” Those who enjoy the fullness of life in the presence of God.
Consoled in passing
The doctrine of the Mystical Body has especially consoled me in many ways during the past two years. During this time I have met the challenges of COVID and other forms of illness that have forced me to say “goodbye” to many friends who have passed into eternity. In fact, many of them smile at me from their photos in “my gallery of memory” on my closet door.
I have always believed as the preface for the Mass of Christian Burial states that “by death, life is not ended, but merely changed.” However, in the absence of so many friends, holding fast to this tenet of faith has become harder.
So, as we begin November I invite you to join me. Let’s call to memory each day someone who lives strongly in our hearts. Someone who was a source of grace to us. Let’s invite that person to be a companion once again to us on our journey.
I think if we do this, we will find new strength as we continue our own journeys.