A thrust to the faith challenges us every year as the months of October and November approach: All Saints Day and the Commemoration of All Souls.
The faith is challenged because the removal of death is natural and it proceeds with the flow of our daily lives. We make plans and projects, and we hope to reap the fruits.
We tend to tell ourselves that it’s entirely normal. However, we are making bricks without straw. It’s not a sword of Damocles that could suddenly fall on us and cut us off time and history. Nor is it the thread woven by the Parcae: the last one waiting to hold it in her hands to cut it and plunge us into the abyss.
If that were the case, or the only possible option, only removal would grant us propriety and thus would deserve being cultivated. But this would prompt yet another question: why then give birth to a child? To expose him to a destructive mechanism that consumes our days and shortens our breath?
Our faith, the Amen we utter in prayer upon receiving the Sacraments, bestows a different perspective, which, far from discarding, avoiding, or eluding difficulties and problems, confers an all-embracing creative capability upon us leading to the outpouring of peace.
The Merciful One has broken into our history. He donated himself fully. He created us to make his Creation all the more beautiful, that we may establish fraternal bonds with one another; to ensure that we would confidently undertake the path as pilgrims directed towards His Face. When we enter a cemetery we should not see gravestones as lids that forever closed and sealed a human life, whose events, failures and successes will be soon forgotten.
Tombstones and epigraphs should bring back to our memories, and to the memory of our faith, an element we should be able to perceive: those who shut their eyes to history have opened them to the Mystery we were called to know in our earthly life.
To speak Love is not a waste of words smeared by events scarred by vile, obscure connotations. To speak Love means that every grave emanates a force, an overwhelming energy that draws us towards everlasting values, towards options that leave an invisible mark in the history of the powerful and mighty that were seemingly in charge of our entire existences. It is a sign that the faith grasps and infuses vitality into. Love means gratuitousness, it means service, it means recognizing ourselves as brothers, all together, animated by the desire to serve the common good.
Walking near the graves could trigger a nostalgic sentiment for the faces of those who engendered and accompanied us throughout our lives, standing beside us with all the love they were capable of. But it could also trigger a deeper, liberating sentiment: renewing the penetrating bond, the true everlasting bond that is rooted in God. Being immersed in the womb of the Father who has left us is thus the almighty channel of authentic friendship and grace.
Thus the grave is not mournful; it is not terrifying. Every grave underlies the grave that enshrouded the Body of the Saviour who promised us eternal life.
In the Mystery of the faith the Sepulchre that is Holy is present in every grave and in every cemetery. The energy of the Resurrected circulates amidst an apparently motionless landscape, cut off and expelled from the context of human life, effusing a light that illuminates and warms our heart. It encompasses the everlasting dimension that belongs to the saints that praise God eternally, in mutual joy, rid of the darkness that had characterised earthly life and relations.
It’s not a magic or superstitious projection that recalls ancestral rites, it’s far more than this.
It’s the fundamental choice on which all of our choices repose, until, step by step, we start undertaking the path leading us to the peak that is the Face of God, Creator and Father; to the Son that through His death gave meaning to our departure from earthly life, to entrust our breath to the eternal Light with utmost trust.