Two Beautiful Days

There is so much richness and depth to our faith. Not only do we love and adore God, but we also love and seek guidence and help from His Blessed Mother, Mary. She is the perfect example of love and obedience to God's will. She is the only person born without original sin, she is.....perfect. We also get to learn from the thousands of saints who have walked this earth before us. Many were killed because of their belief in God, many did nothing more than just love God really, really, well. All of them have left us an example to follow of how to have courage, trust, faith, and a deep love for God. We can learn so much from the saints, and each November first when we celebrate All Saints Day, I'm reminded more and more of how much I love these holy men and women.

I love to celebrate All Saints Day. I've started a tradition in our home that every year on All Saints Day, each child gets a new saint to add to our collection. I set them all up the night before so that when they come downstairs in the morning, they are greeted by a heavenly host of saints. This year we added, St. Anthony, St. Joseph, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and Our Lady of Fatima.

We tried something new this year. About a week before All Saints Day, I asked Thomas and Annie if they wanted to do a surprise saint report and share it with our family. They could draw or create their saint and then write a four sentence report on him or her. We then had to guess who the saint was that they had picked. It was darling to watch them write in private so that no one could see what saint they picked.
Annie went first. Can you guess?

Saint Catherine Laboure.
Thomas' was a bit more tricky....

St. Dymphna. That's the devil under her foot in case you are wondering! I was so proud of them and they really had fun too.
I think heaven must look something like this......

And then, the very next day, on November 2nd we celebrate All Souls Day. A day to remember those who have died and to pray for the poor souls in purgatory. I've always wanted to make this a special day. It's our job, after all, to pray for the dead so that they may reach heaven. Thomas has learned this beautiful prayer at school that they pray each day to release souls from purgatory. Once I heard him praying it over and over at home. I asked him why he kept praying that prayer and he said that each time he prays it, thousands of souls are released from purgatory. He was trying to count up how many souls got to heaven.
Today, I wanted to surprise Thomas and Annie. Something that Thomas has always wanted to do is to have his name be called on the intercom and be taken out of school. I laugh to myself when I think of what is important to children. So, without telling them, I asked the secretary to call them out of their classes. I waited in Sherman to watch. This was them running out of school!
They jumped in the car and were so anxious, nervous, excited, you name it. Thomas wondered if I could really do this. I told him, yes, I could.
We drove over to the cemetery where we buried Joseph. It's only a few blocks from school. As we pulled into the cemetery I told the kids that we were going to celebrate the feast of All Souls Day by going to visit Joseph's grave and have a pie picinic.
It was darling to hear them. There was a constant stream of, I can't wait to tell so and so that I get to eat pie, I can't believe we are doing this, this is awesome...

Once we prayed for Joseph and all the unborn babies, and ate our pie, we wandered over to the older side of the cemetery. It was the most perfect day outside. No wind, clear blue skies, beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows, and the crunching of the fallen leaves as we weaved in and out of the tombstones.

We looked to see which was the oldest one we could find. We found a gentleman who died in 1885.

It was the most beautiful experience for me today. Walking though a cemetery on this lovely day amongst those who have died, while I am living. I get to live this day. I get to see the beauty of the moment, the blue sky, the bright colors, see my children wandering around with sticks in their hands and bending down to pick up acorns to throw. And yet, I always feel a bit sad on this day. Death scares me. Losing loved ones terrifies me. Especially since losing Joseph, I feel the sadness a little more. I was very inspired the other day when a friend of mine told me that his grandfather just found out that he has a few months to live. I told him how sorry I was to hear the news. His response was, this is what my grandfather has been preparing for, for years now. He's ready. Death. Not an ending, but eternal life. That inspired me.

We lit a special candle for dinner. It has the names of all our relatives and friends who have died. We prayed especially for them.

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen
Thank you God for these two beautiful days and the many ways we are reminded to live out our faith. Thank you for the heavenly saints and their example of courage and love. Thank you for the time spent with our loved ones before they left this earth.


Laura said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

You are so lovely. The taking your kids out of school for a picnic in the cemetary is just absolutely beautiful.

I think losing babies has made me less afraid of death. It's silly, really, because I know my Eternal Father and Mother Mary will be waiting there too, but I like to imagine that they will take me to Them.

fullofgracex7 said...

I'm so blessed to have you as my friend. You never cease to inspire me...touch me...teach me. You are an amazing mother and you and T.J. are doing such an incredible job raising your holy men and women!