Halloween is soon upon us and, not surprisingly, the malls are already decked with holly. It seems to me that it’s challenging to enter into the November and Advent if we’re already occupied (perhaps even anxious) about whom we may have forgotten on last year’s Christmas card list. Rowan Williams, a retired Archbishop of Canterbury, in a recent little book Being Human. Bodies, Minds, Persons, writes that necessary for Faith and human flourishing is “taking time” is the way we are formed from day to day, week to week, season to season by returning to and unhurriedly celebrating our feasts and commemorations.
In the season of nature’s dying (at least in the northern hemisphere) we remember those who have gone before us in Faith: on November 1 we rejoice and give thanks for those whose lives and deaths have shaped us and whom we believe now intercedes for us in the full glory of God; on November 2 we also intercede for those who gave us birth, taught us to pray, and whom we believe may be in need of our prayers.
Year by year, we come back to these anniversaries of women and men heroic in their faithful living and dying. Once is never enough because we are different each year. Our Christian sense of celebration time(s) is not purely cyclical because we are different each year. Insofar as we have grown in our living the Faith we profess, we enter more deeply into the mysteries we celebrate. So, our Christian sense of time is corkscrew-like. What goes around comes around but deeper at every turn. And that is not available at the mall.
Rev. Andrew D. Ciferni, O. Praem.