We begin this month by solemnizing “All Saints Day.” The communion of saints refer to believers in the past, believers in the present, and believers in the years to come sharing a common salvation in our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The nature of that communion, cited by St. John, is a fellowship with one another because it is a fellowship with the Father and with His Son.(1 John 1:3)
We read in our Constitutions number 18:“our fraternity, considered by the founder is a small communion of saints.” We have our heavenly friends in heaven especially our Founder and many other holy confreres and brothers and sisters and even our own family members. Father Louis Guanella, in establishing his missions, felt himself surrounded and helped by heavenly friends. He believed that through devotion to the saints faithful people, in particular the poor and the sick of his houses, could find an easier way to reach the Lord. In the regulations he also mentions “a host of saints were recalled to be an example and protection to the houses.”In his book, The Mountaineer he wrote, “conversation with the living and the deceased is a true school of virtues, a true comfort of the soul.”
On the second of November, we commemorate all the faithful departed and we have a practice of offering the holy Mass for the repose of the souls of deceased brothers and sisters. We cannot forget in our day life, death and eternal life. Death is not the end but the beginning. Martin Luther King said to his people “what is our prize, our destination?” It is divine life, eternal life, and life with and in God.
Do we have a clear goal in our life and a befriending attitude of our death? How can I make my life fruitful? How can my dying be not the end of fruitfulness but rather its fullest realization? How much can I still accomplish before I die or will I be a burden to others? How can my death be a gift for my loved ones, so that they can reap the fruits of my life after my death? Therefore, preparing ourselves for death is the most important task of life, at least when we believe that death is not the total dissolution of our identity but the way to its fullest revelation-“a going home experience.”
As our Daughters of St. Mary of Divine Providence are going to celebrate their 18th General Chapter beginning on November 21st with the theme, “For a creative fidelity to the charism which has been entrusted to us: in communion of life and in the search for management alternatives,” we pray and wish them to have a research on a more inculturated expression of the charism of the Founder. “Creative fidelity to the Charism” means a call to go back to “Como” that is returning to the roots in order to drink from the same spring as the Founder. At the same time, are we brave enough today to take the raw and unpopular initiatives of our Founder in new situations? Pope Francis calls all of us to “move to the peripheries.” Let us listen to the motherly tenderness of our Mother of Divine Providence “to do whatever He tells you.”
Fr. Soosai Rathinam
(Image by Ira Thomas and can be found at CatholicWorldArt.com)