Thursday, November 02, 2006

All Souls' Day

The moon is quite bright tonight and has cut through the clouds that hung over central Minnesota throughout the day. The call is for our coldest night yet--perhaps single digits for the first time this season. We never quite made the freezing mark during the day. Coming home from Evening Prayer tonight I was glad for the respite from the wind which has blown incessantly the last few days.

The psalms were quite familiar tonight as we completed the cycle from the Common for the Dead. Psalm 23, 42-43, and the reminder from Lamentations that "God's love is new every morning." Noonday prayer took place in the cold blast at the top of the hill at the monastic cemetery. Abbot John led is in a special remembrance of the dead, as participants whispered the name of their loved ones. The graves of the monks were sprinkled with water and we especially remembered the four monks who had died since last All Souls' Day. Complaining about the temperature, I was told of the celebration 15 years ago when over thirty inches of snow lay on the ground, to which my colleague, Kathleen, reminded us that last year it had been seventy degrees.

All of this reminded me that, though the weather changes, life goes on. The cycles of the seasons can reinforce for us the fact that life, itself, is cyclical. From life to death, we all must learn to cope with this cyclical nature. The scriptures have this wonderful ability to embrace these realities of life--good and ill--and offer them back to God. So, on this day when we remember those who have touched our lives and continue to exercise an influence on us, I give thanks for all of those who have gone before. May God give me the ability to hold in trust what they have passed on and to live a life of faithfulness, even as did they.