"The heart hath its own memory, like the mind. And in it are enshrined the precious keepsakes, into which is wrought the giver's loving thought." ~ H.W. Longfellow
November 2nd is All Souls Day or "The Day of the Dead." Honestly, it is one of my favorite Holy Days in the Catholic Faith.
Tomorrow I will remember my family members and dear friends that have died.
There is a Mexican saying that we die three deaths: the first when our bodies die, the second when our bodies are lowered into the earth out of sight, and the third when our loved ones forget us. Catholics forestall that last death by seeing the faithful dead as members of the Church, alive in Christ, and by praying for them - and asking their prayers for us -always. Though we should daily pray for our loved ones (here) and gone before us - All Souls Day is especially set aside for hanging that "unfailing lamp before the sepulchres of our dead" as we are told to do by Sacred Scripture:
II Maccabees 12: 43-46
And making a gathering, [Judas] sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection, (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,) And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.
As you can see, the practice of praying for the dead can be dated as far back as the Jewish tradition found in II Maccabees. The custom of setting apart a special day for intercession of the faithful on November 2nd was first established by St. Odilo of Cluny (d. 1048) at his abbey of Cluny in 998.
Legend has it Peter Damiani told the story in his Life of St Odilo: a pilgrim returning from the Holy Land was cast by a storm on a desolate island. A hermit living there told him that amid the rocks was a chasm communicating with purgatory, from which perpetually rose the groans of tortured souls. The hermit also claimed he had heard the demons complaining of the efficacy of the prayers of the faithful, and especially the monks of Cluny, in rescuing their victims. Upon returning home, the pilgrim hastened to inform the abbot of Cluny, who then set November 2nd as a day of intercession on the part of his community for all the souls in purgatory.
As for me, I will remember my ancestors (including my grandparents,) a few dear friends, and anyone else that might have made an impact on me throughout my life.
For fun this year - I am attending this festival at Bare Hands Gallery in downtown Birmingham -
Check out the video!
Oh yeah.. and Happy All Souls Day! :-)