By Rev. Philip Sutherland, S.J., graduate student in the Department of Philosophy
November is when we remember those who have passed on to eternal life. On Nov. 1 we remember all the saints who have shown heroic virtue and holiness in their lives. They are an example to us all. Then the next day on All Souls’ Day we remember all those who have come home to God. We pray for them for their sake but also for ours. We are reminded that this life is not the end and that our friends and family now live with God forever. We are still connected to them as part of the communion of saints. We give thanks for those who have come before us in faith, providing us an example of how to follow Christ in our world.
And, of course, we will celebrate Thanksgiving later in the month.
One of the key foundations of the spiritual life for Ignatius is gratitude. We must always remind ourselves to be grateful for our lives, our blessings, and our talents. We remember that all is from God and we offer all that we have back to God in love and service. As Ignatius said in his prayer the Suscipe (translations vary):
“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.”