November is a precious month when, as the days grow shorter and darker, we remember the larger community of which we are a part, heaven and earth gathered in the Lord’s communion of saints.
On All Saints Day, we remember all those holy women and men who have gone before us, many of whom have been inspirations to us in our own spiritual journeys. On All Souls Day, we remember all those who have died near and far, recently and long ago, sisters and brothers whose destinies are now held within the love and mystery of God. Let us pray for those we knew personally, family, friends, colleagues, but also for the very many people far and near who have died in the last year, from Covid and a host of other acts and systems of violence.
It is timely then also to mark November 2 as the Día de los Muertos, a holy day celebrated particularly among Mexican-Americans, a solemn occasion marked with special altars, offerings, and prayers, and visits to cemeteries when possible. As we become a more multicultural and international Catholic Theological Society, let all of us find ways to make the images, rituals, and sentiments of the Día de los Muertos tradition part of our lives and spiritual practice.
November 4 is Diwali, the great Hindu festival of light, marking the conquest of good over evil. In a world where dark hatred and blinding violence too often seem to triumph, we can join in pray with our Hindu sisters and brothers, that the light pierce and overcome the gloom around us.
In these times when we are becoming more sensitive to the history of the land in which we live, it is timely also to note that November is Native American Heritage month. During this month we are called to remember and reflect on the lives of the original inhabitants of the land, people whose stories need to be told and rights must be acknowledged and honored, particularly in the places where we live and work. Much more information on this heritage month can be found online, including at the Bureau of Indian Affairs site.
Let us hope and pray that by Thanksgiving we will find this month of remembrance culminating in a spirit of thanksgiving for the bountiful gifts of people and places that make our lives possible, even in the most difficult of times.