Early November marks the autumn midway point between summer and winter. The life of summer gradually yields to the death of winter. For the Church, this is the month that especially calls to mind the transitory nature of life which eventually gives way to death. For Christians, what seems to be the bleak finality of death becomes the transition to fullness of life with God. How fitting it is that in November we celebrate the glory of the Communion of Saints in heaven, and commend to the Lord the souls who have gone before us.
Every year, summer leads to the autumnal transition to winter. Then comes spring where life begins to emerge as it blossoms into the fullness of another summer. The summer of every life leads eventually to the winter of death. We sometimes do not know what to do with that winter. The feasts of All Saints and All Souls invite us to remember that the winter does not last forever. The souls we have known and loved find their fulfillment with all the saints in the everlasting life of heaven.
These days invite us to rededicate ourselves to living well the lives we have before us, whether that be for 8 minutes or 80 years. It is a time to remember the goodness of the lives of those we have loved who have gone before us. These lives continue to motivate and inspire us. Even so, there is the reality that we also live with their physical absence. This absence visits us with varying degrees of severity and at times leaves us lost in grief. These, then, are also days to be grateful for our faith that gets us through those times, and for those that help us to access it through their loving care.
The seasons of the year are faithful in their arrival and departure. Human life is faithful in its sequence of birth to death. The Lord is faithful to his promise of death to life. How wonderful to be recipients of such fidelity.