"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

All Souls Day

Today is the Feast of All Souls:
The Church remembers “the faithful departed”.

Yesterday, All Saints (All Hallows) was celebrated – a far greater solemnity in the Church’s year.
But All Souls always draws the bigger crowd.
For it touches people’s hearts.

All Souls speaks of ordinary lives.
Of failure, suffering, brokenness and death.
It does not shy away from their centrality to us all.

And this acknowledgement often resonates more deeply than celebrations of success.
We may aspire to great happiness
But we will almost certainly know grief.

The Feast of All Souls points to the inevitability of own death and, more terribly, the death of all those we love.
But it also dares to point hesitantly through grief and brokenness.

All Souls looks at ordinary people, with ordinary lives, and speaks of hope.



Picture taken on the Feast of All Souls, Holy Cross Basilica, Fort Cochin.
“The Day of the Dead”  painted by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 – 1905). Taken from the web.

4 responses

  1. Toffeeapple

    That is interesting, I wasn’t aware of All Souls day, being of a Baptist upbringing.

    November 2, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    • Along with Ash Wednesday, All Souls is quite remarkable in the Catholic Church. Neither of them are “holy days of obligation” (days when you are obliged to attend Mass) but both attract enormous congregations.
      In the Basilica, here in Fort Cochin, Mass was celebrated three times between 5:50 and 8:30 this morning. All were full to capacity, with the congregation spilling out onto the church forecourt.

      November 2, 2011 at 7:34 pm

  2. As a Lutheran, I was aware of All Saint’s Day, but not the Feast of All Souls. Your words depict the event elegantly … the occasion of grief so common to all.

    November 3, 2011 at 7:10 am

    • The Feast of All Souls is a fanfare to the common man and woman – played on a rather battered trumpet by a far from confident musician. It is a plea for final peace.
      Requiem æternam dona eis….

      November 3, 2011 at 7:26 am

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