This past year we had quite a few funerals, more than I can ever remember.
I suppose in part it is due to my “getting on in years.” In part though, it was because some very dear ones died way too soon.
I am especially missing some very dear, soul sisters in Christ, who were real heroes to me, with unshakeable courage, and a deep love of our Lord.
But why am I talking of such sadness?
Call me crazy, but I think it is not sad talk.
As a Catholic I have come to understand suffering and death in its proper perspective.
Remembering that I belong to a very huge family of God comforts, heals, and has sanctified my life. I pray every day for those souls and their families. I ask them to intercede for my family, and I have hope that perhaps some day we may all be united in the Beatific Vision.
This is the message I hoped to impart on my own children as we lived our our faith in our homeschooling life.
November is the month dedicated to the Holy Souls.
At home, as a homeschooling family, we have the golden opportunity to teach our children through our example of prayer for the dead.
Holy Mother Church asks us to remember all those who have died.
We remember those souls in prayer in the hope that they will rejoice in the glory of God.
“If we knew what may be obtained from God by the intercession of the Poor Souls, they would not be so much abandoned. Let us pray a great deal for them; they will pray for us.” –St. John Vianney
Let us also rejoice with the saints. The Church tells us the saints have arrived at His heavenly kingdom, and bask in His Glory.
In fact this month is ushered in with All Saints Day, which is cause for celebrations and prayers!
Real Love is Eternal.
Watch the movie Love is a Choice, the story of St. Gianna Molla, with your family during your homeschooling days!
Our family was deeply moved by the testimony of St. Gianna Molla’s husband, Pietro.
He told the story of their son, only five at the time, who had seen him crying several days after Gianna’s funeral. The little boy asked his father why he was crying.
Pietro told him that he missed his wife so very much. His son’s answer to this was simple and beautiful, “But Papa she is in heaven now.”
Remembering the Departed Souls of our Family!
Make a family list…
During an All Souls Mass homily, our beloved pastor, told us that his mom would call him this time every year.
To remind him to add to “the list” the names of the deceased family members who died during the current year.
What is this list?
Father keeps a list of everyone (and I mean everyone) in his family who has ever died since he was born!
Yup, he keeps this list as a reminder to pray for them and remember them.
You can do this too this year with your family! You can add it to their homeschooling activities this week.
This practice is much like our ancestors practice of lighting blessed candles on the Feast of All Souls, one for each family member who died that year.
The candles and Father’s “list” are visible signs that there is hope, peace, an eternal reward and that we are called to remember and pray.
Read a BRAND NEW Book for children on Holy Souls.
Susan Tassone is a friend and the author of 14 best-selling books, nine of which are specifically on purgatory. She reached out to me earlier this year to tell me about her newest adventure, New Friends Now and Forever: A Story About the Holy Souls, which is a children’s picture book.
I just got my copy and had to share…
Jesus taught using parables; he told stories. So Susan created New Friends Now and Forever as a delightful story of twins, Ben and Hope, who become “prayer-pals” with Mr. Ray, an elderly friend from their home parish.
Together they form a beautiful friendship that goes way beyond the here and now, all the way to the Holy Souls in purgatory. It is so sweet in that they decide to pray for each other and help Mr. Ray to pray for his departed wife too!
Along the way, Hope and Ben learn all about the reality of purgatory and how it is special way that our dear Lord shows his love for us. In other words, Purgatory is the masterpiece of God’s mercy.
There really is nothing out there designed for children to engage their hearts and to teach them about this all important gift of our faith.
By reading this book this year and every year, your children will learn that the power of their prayers and sacrifices helps the faithful departed reach heaven and that those souls will intercede for them, becoming their “forever friends.”
Remember those who are forgotten.
Go to Mass on All Souls’ Day as a family.
Several years ago, at the Mass for All Souls, my husband Larry and I were asked to each hold a small wooden cross with the name of a parishioner who had died that year.
I was asked because no family member was present at that Mass to remember them.
As we carried each cross to the altar, taking our our turns as each name was called aloud, we were most grateful and honored to take part in this small gesture of remembrance.
It really hit home that Larry and I are members of a much bigger family than those who reside in our own home. We are members of the family of God. We belong to Christ Jesus, who laid down his innocent life so that we can have the hope in an eternity with God.
That’s really something to rejoice in.
A blessed All Souls’ Day….there is family waiting for your prayers!