Sunday, November 02, 2008

All Saints and All Souls.

This year the back-to-back commemorations of the Feast of All Saints and All Souls' Day fall on Saturday and Sunday respectively, presenting a veritable weekend of remembrance in honor of the faithful departed. At the risk of engaging in a bit of reflective recycling, I encourage you to read (again or the first time) the post I wrote two years ago in observance of All Saints and All Souls. While praying and thinking about what I should write today, I took a look at the aforementioned post and found that it still offers a faithful reflection of my feelings on these two feast days.

If I had to reiterate one point that I made two years ago, it would be the value of the sentiment expressed in a brief exchange in Robert Bolt's play A Man for All Seasons. (I think I appreciate this work even more than I used to after seeing the ongoing Broadway revival, which I highly recommend to readers who may find themselves in New York and have the time, means and inclination to see a play.) In this bit of dialogue, Sir Thomas More offers a bit of sage advice to young Richard Rich, who has been offered employment as a schoolteacher. "Why not be a teacher?" More urges Rich, "You'd be a fine teacher. Perhaps even a great one." "And if I was," Rich replies, "who would know it?" More answers, "You, your pupils, your friends, God. Not a bad public that."

On the Feast of All Saints and All Souls' Day, we remember those whose lives suggest that they might have taken to heart the advice that Sir Thomas More offers Richard Rich in A Man for All Seasons. Anyone who is familiar with the play knows that Master Rich failed to follow the advice that Sir Thomas offered him. However, I believe that any one of us can think of people we have known who went to their heavenly reward after lives of quiet faith and self-effacing service. These are the saints and faithful departed we remember this weekend - Christians whose lives never attracted great notice, but who nonetheless give glory to God and continue to inspire those who were fortunate to know them personally. Amid the activities of our weekend, let us take some time to recall and give thanks for the anonymous saints and faithful departed who have been a blessing in our lives. AMDG.


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