Dear Church Family,
Today, All Saints and tomorrow, All Souls Days we remember our deceased loved ones whom we have prayed for and had special memorial prayers and also those who were in bereavement this past year. We have written letters to their families and loved ones.
Also closer to home, we think of various people in our lives that are saintly in their own way. Some of them like Saint Augustine had their conversion and became all the closer to the Lord by the way they lived and loved. Certainly you know people that have come a long way and humbly they express it but a lot of them are very saintly people.
I remember this Gospel especially on the Beatitudes that was chosen for the home-going of a minster at St. Bridgett about twenty years ago. She admitted coming a long way, which she had. She just loved spreading the Good News and preparing people to be received into the church in the RCIA which is the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. As St. John proclaims, “We are God’s children; we shall be like Him and we shall see Him like He is.” Alleluia! That’s the way I think about this lady named Nancy. Thinking back about preaching at her home-going a few other priests came–Fr. Rich Creason and Fr. Gerry Kleba. I felt very comfortable when I proclaimed the Gospel. We had today the Beatitudes and I told Fr. Rich and Fr. Gerry to each take two of the Beatitudes. Another priest came and he took two and I had the last two. We proclaimed them slowly and related them to Nancy as we would relate them to you if it was your home-going. We would tell in some way how you kept all the wonderful Beatitudes and you desired to grow in them. Needless to say, I got a few comments from my brother priests for putting them on the spot at the last minute. But they really came through and saw how the Beatitudes connected with Nancy and how she tried to live and love.
The Beatitude of being poor in spirit is just a humble attitude of putting Jesus first and having the wisdom of knowing everything flows from Jesus. Then we have the attitude of being so concerned with anyone that is suffering from the loss of a loved one. So, we are proclaiming an attitude of those that mourn. They shall definitely be comforted. Again the meek are humble people who know the Lord first and how wonderful it is for each of us to seek the Lord so much that we have the sense of hunger and thirst being activated in our lives so much that we seek this above everything else. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall certainly be satisfied. All of us desire to be merciful and we go about many times during merciful actions and loving actions therefore it shall come back to us and mercy will be shown to us. How wonderful it is to be clean of heart or to have the attitude of putting the Lord first and definitely those that go through life without any duplicity just thinking single heartily. They certainly will see God. Again how blessed are the peacemakers and each of you tries to bring peace into your relationships and the relationships of those around you. Finally, you seek and thirst for justice, so things will be right in our society. Even though you have all the attitudes and sometimes you are persecuted for having them, it is still your goal to be a Christian that has these attitudes of Jesus.
It is certainly good to have the basic commandments covered. Love the Lord our God with your whole heart, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. These are the attitudes of how we should live this way of love. So, you all are saints and you have saintly qualities. Keep developing them. Look to the ancestors especially as role models. Today, on All Souls Day, we will especially remember all our deceased loved ones from our parish, our extended parish and all the people that you know. Let us celebrate how good God is, so good comes to us in so many ways through the life and love of one another. Alleluia!
Love, Fr. Bob