Welcome to the month of November. In the Church tradition, the month of November is a period dedicated to prayers for the dead. On All Saints Day, November 1, we honor our holy heroes in the faith who have successfully made it to heaven by living a life devoted to God. On November 2nd, we celebrate the memorial of All Souls when we pray for all the dead who are undergoing the period of purification in purgatory before they can be admitted into heaven.
In the Catholic faith, we hold that our ultimate achievement in life is to become saints at the end of our lives. We often hear how people fight over leadership positions in the Church. Sometimes we even see the abuse of power in the Church. As far as the Church is concerned, the most important position to hold in the Church is to be a saint. Holiness is not reserved for priests, bishops, Religious leaders alone. Every Catholic has an opportunity to become a saint. This is why the Church has canonized children as young as 9-years-old, wives, husbands and people in different professions.
Often, people presume that their loved ones who have passed are already in heaven while in reality they have no evidence to prove it. It is believed that the majority of those have died will need to undergo a period of purification known as Purgatory before they can be admitted into heaven. Although we know that the souls in Purgatory will eventually enter into Heaven, we are still bound by charity to try to lessen their suffering through our prayers and good deeds. While our first responsibility is to those people we know, it is also important to remember in our prayers those souls who have no one to pray for them.
Talking about the month of the dead, the Church cautions us to think seriously about the culture of death that is being embraced by many in our society today, specifically in the form of abortion and euthanasia. During this time of election, I have heard some people say that "The Catholic Church is always focused on one issue: pro-life. What about other important matters that are at stake?”
The Church is concerned about many other matters in the society but the issue of life is the preeminent among them. This is because, if the life of innocent people does not matter, then nothing else matters. “The strength of a chain is measured by the weakest link in the chain.” I am convinced that future generations will look back and acknowledge that the Church was right for insisting on the issue of pro-life as a fundamental value in the society. The truth is, we belong to a prophetic Church. We learn from the Bible that prophets and their prophetic messages are generally not accepted in their own lifetime until what they say comes to pass. We have seen this happened many times in the history of the Church and the world.
During the week, I read a book, “Surprised by Life” (by Patrick Madrid) that helped me understand the experiences and logic of some people who held an extreme pro-abortion position and what made them make a “U-turn” and become pro-life. The book is generally not about pro-life and pro-choice but is essentially about people who have abandoned their faith for a long time or struggled with their faith and how life experiences brought them back to the faith. This is a must-read book for everyone, especially if you are struggling with your faith or hold a pro-choice conviction. I recommend you try this book and see if you remain the same.
Fr. Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus, was beatified on October 31st during a special Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut. Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Fr. McGivney on May 27th, paving the way for his beatification. Once he is beatified, he will be given the title “Blessed” and his feast day will be set. Fr. McGivney will be the first U.S.-born priest to be beatified who spent his entire priestly ministry in a parish. The beatification Mass was celebrated at 11:00am (ET) by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, attendance inside the cathedral is limited, but the Mass was live-streamed by EWTN and on the website of the Knights of Columbus, www.kofc.org.
Have a wonderful weekend and Remain Blessed.
Fr. James Aboyi, VC