While it might seem that we have had cooler and more overcast days of late, we generally have had a wonderful month of October, and we have avoided the snow that dampens our spirits. Make no mistake about it; winter will soon be on its way. But, in the meantime, we benefit from extra day of good autumn weather. With most of the leaves blown off the trees and picked up by those diligent yard-keepers, our minds naturally reflect upon the changing seasons of human life also.
With Remembrance Day occurring on November 11th, we will soon be honouring and recalling the great sacrifices of those who fought to defend our country and liberty around the world from the tyranny of oppression and violence. This occasion that is marked by people of various faith backgrounds along with those of no particular religious expression is a precious opportunity to recognize the collective sense of appreciation of the dedication and valour of those who have gone before us. While we remember those who served and died in the great wars earlier of the last century, along with those who have given of themselves in all of the peace-keeping roles Canada has exercised in more recent memory, we are not extolling war and destruction, but rather praying and working towards world peace as the precious commodity that we remain in greatest need.
However, November is not just about Remembrance Day, as there are some Christian traditions and churches who generally remember all the deceased over the whole month, but particularly on November 2nd dedicated to prayers for the faithful departed, just as we have prayed in union with the all the saints of God on November 1st on the feast of All Saints. These two days give us pause to honour the memory and lives of all those who have gone before us. As St. Paul writes: "The life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord." (Romans 14: 7-8). None of us lives like an island unto themselves, but always to the enrichment and benefit of others, so that our faith and faithfulness is important for the whole Body of Christ, the Church. It is a misunderstanding of Christianity to view it as simply an individual's faith alone, apart from any sense of community and the Church. This is why we best remember and pray for the dead when we join our prayers together in the Church. "May the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace; and let perpetual Light shine upon them. Amen"