By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
“Listen kindly to our prayers, O Lord, and, as our faith in your Son, raised from the dead is deepened, so may our hope of resurrection for your departed servants also find new strength.” (Collect Prayer for today’s Mass, The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, All Souls Day)
I find it interesting that our society seems to be fixated with certain aspects of death, like zombies, haunted houses and Halloween. People pay a lot of money to go somewhere and be “scared to death”. But then, when it is time to talk about preparing for our own death, people think it is morbid and turn quickly to avoidance. Today, as we remember our loved ones who have passed from this life and pray for their eternal rest, we also strengthen the hope that we too will rise again with Christ, not only on the last day, but also today, as we rise from our pain and our fears.
I have discovered that the more I bring my fears to prayer, the more they lose their grip on me. Losing my father at the young age of nine, the reality of the separation we experience when a loved one dies was too much for me to deal with at the time. For many years I avoided looking at that wound. I became an expert at distraction and escape, but God had a different plan. The very wound that made me feel abandoned, became a source of love and grace. It is now the place where God shows me, over and over again, that He is my Father.
“Brothers and sisters: Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Rom 5:5). This love that was poured out on the Cross, is in the cup He gives us to drink (Mk 10:38). When we accept the pain and suffering that life brings, and bring it in prayer to God, we find the love that casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). And it is that love that will transform our wounds into rivers of flowing grace, into witnesses of His love.