The Feast of All Souls

Yesterday was All Saints Day – a day set aside to remember saints who walked before us, to learn from their examples, and to be encouraged by the strength given them.

Today we gather, mourning their death, contemplating our own. The church alive with symbols of life and resurrection – stark in contrast to the black vestments of the priest.

Against warm wood paneling, a frame then a picture emerges. Shimmering candles – both flame and brass, warm sunlight pouring in through smoky windows, dancing off the polished furnishing and pure white fabric on the altar.

Flowers, still adorning, vibrant washes of deep blues, oranges, reds and violets amid the back drop of expected green clippings of life. Their stems, strong, soaking up water – providing life and substance to a fragile structure of leaves and petals.

The priest enters – shrouded in black vestments; the fabric textureless, stiff. Underneath the common white dress-like priestly garment – girded up with thin strips of black, designed to hold the vestment in place yet constraining him as tendrils of death. Although unseen in our own lives they linger around us each.

The paradox is heavy. I sit in this tension of life and death. The past behind me, fixed – no longer flowing – the future, not guaranteed. The only moment I have is before me, a saint in the making, living in the thin space where eternity touches my world.

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