But we do not grieve as men without hope, for Christ the Lord has risen to die no more. He has taken us into the mystery and the grace of this life that springs up from death. If we, like Him encounter and accept suffering in our discipleship, we will move without awkwardness among others who suffer. We must be men with hope to bring. Constitution 8:118
The liturgies of All Saints’ and All Souls’ days set a somber but hopeful tone for the month of November. The weather in South Bend this time of year usually helps to reinforce those feelings as the weather turns more cloudy and cold and starts to think about sending the first snowflakes of the season.
A hallowed tradition here, where the largest community cemetery is located for the U.S. Province of Holy Cross, is a memorial Mass at Fatima House and a solemn procession to the cemetery. It is of course common for people to visit the graves of their deceased loved ones on or around All Souls’ Day, and the Holy Cross family is not so different.
The seminarians and scholastics of Old College and Moreau Seminary come to formation with a wide variety of life experiences and personal experiences of loss. Some of the younger men may have not yet gone through the painful experience of saying goodbye to a loved one. Some are acquainted with losing someone close like a grandparent, an aunt or an uncle. Some, of course, have already suffered loss in their immediate families. Even if they can’t physically go to the graves of their own family members, by walking into the Holy Cross cemetery they still carry the memory of those people with them as they walk among the graves of their brothers and fathers in Holy Cross.
Vowed religious do not desire to run away from pain and suffering by joining the community, but instead become part of a large, extended family. They promise to pray for those who have gone before in Holy Cross, but also pray for the loved ones and family members of our fellow community members.
St. Paul asked, “What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish?...[will] the sword?” No, we conquer through Him who has first loved us. In our families—our natural families and in our Holy Cross family—we trust that if we are united to Christ then we can never be separated from those who have been gathered in His love.