November, the Month of Awareness and Gratitude

by David Carollo –

The month of November starts with the great feast of All Saints Day, which directs us to look to the many holy people who have been elevated to the altar and stand as examples of how we need to live. We have our favorite saints, those who we look up to, especially those whose lives reflect ours. People from all walks of life, those who lived in great virtue and some who were sinful but repented and did great things after turning back to God. Some years ago, the liturgical calendar was modified. Several suggested that this day be taken off those that were holy days of obligation. Gladly this did not happen.

Appropriately, we follow this solemnity with the day when we remember all the deceased. On All Souls Day my wife and I attended the evening Mass at our parish. Afterwards we joined the candlelight procession from the church to the adjacent parish cemetery, which was adorned with candles set throughout the graves.  We attend this event annually as a remembrance of those who preceded us in death. Many in this place have been there for many years and some for a short period of time. Many were old and some were young. More importantly we focus on the reality that they have truly just transitioned from this life to the next. Purgatory is most certainly the first stop for the just. Few find their way directly to heaven. As only perfection can enter heaven the cleansing of purgatory is how the mercy of God works for us. As we left after the brief prayer service, Father directed us to find a grave without a candle and leave ours there. I paused for a moment hoping to be drawn to a particular grave. Immediately I looked down and saw not only the place to leave my candle, but the name of a new friend, someone to pray for.

Dedication to the Holy Souls in Purgatory

 I was taught to pray for all the deceased as if they are in purgatory. I spoke one time with a priest who stated that he had attended “another canonization” the previous week. He was of course referring to a funeral, where it has become typical only to joyfully recall the life of the deceased person. No mention of the need to pray for the repose of that soul who most certainly is longing for the prayers of those in attendance. Certainly, we recall the life of an individual during the wake and reminisce with memories of our experiences, but our fondness for an individual calls us to continue to care for them in charity.

Throughout the month as always, it is an important thing to be dedicated to the holy souls. They need our help, and we need their help. We have the power to relieve them of their sufferings and they, as saved souls, have the heart of God and can obtain for us an understanding of what it takes to persevere on our pilgrim journey. If certain imperfections plague us on our journey of full conversion, those who overcame the same issues can guide us in perseverance. The greatest suffering that they endure is the understanding that they will not be fulfilled until their debt is satisfied. Our partnership with them reaffirms the reality of the communion of saints.

As the days get shorter and the leaves fall from the trees, we should think of how we are moving into a barren time of year when darkness exceeds light. As a child I would smell burning leaves, as it was a practice to clean the lawn and pile the leaves along the gutter of the street. My father, like all the men in the neighborhood would later burn the piles emitting the smell of autumn. Modern safety concerns have eliminated that practice, but it is stored in my memory banks as a sign of the season.

Gratitude Ends the Month of November

The month of November is special as it begins with the commemoration of those who came before and left a legacy of faith and perseverance both as recognized saints and as those preparing for entry into heaven. It concludes with the holiday founded in gratitude, the necessary attribute of holiness. As the month closes out, we prepare for Advent, which is the preparation for the great event of the Nativity. The gratitude that defines the month of November should prepare us for the season.

Many fond and profound memories define November. I find this month to be refreshing. One where we retool for the following year. The summer has passed and autumn is quickly fading as the early sunsets and colder temperatures remind us. From the inspiration of the saints who introduced the month, to the connection with the holy souls, to the gratitude of the Thanksgiving holiday, to the preparation for Advent, we fulfill November.

Food, family and football define the American celebration of Thanksgiving. All good things, but only by appreciating the basis of this great month can we properly appreciate this holiday. I wish you a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.

God bless you and Mary keep you in her Immaculate Heart.   

David M. Carollo is the Executive Director of the World Apostolate of Fatima USA/National Blue Army Shrine. He wrote this for his Voice of Fatima column.

Like this content? Help us spread the message of Fatima.

Search

A Smaller, More Spiritual Church is Emerging

As we honor the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Friday and Saturday, I am heartened by the great mission given to Lucia dos Santos at Fatima in 1917, to establish devotion to the Immaculate Heart throughout the world, and that Jesus desired this devotion to be placed next to devotion to His Sacred Heart.

Read More »

First Saturday and the Spiritual Motherhood of Mary

Many of you have probably heard about the movement for a fifth Marian Dogma, specifically to declare the Blessed Virgin Mary as “Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate,” and you wonder how this movement aligns with the message of Our Lady of Fatima.  We know that Sister Lucia never recorded Our Lady at Fatima ever saying anything about a fifth Marian dogma, but this does not mean there are not many significant parallels to the Fatima message.  Many of you might be surprised to hear that the movement for a fifth Marian dogma actually pre-dates the supernatural events at Fatima.

Read More »

Anything But “Ordinary” Time

Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the Church, marks the end of the Easter season. Leading up to this day we completed the Novena to the Holy Spirit which began on Ascension Thursday; “Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy Love.” Although many dioceses transferred the feast to the following Sunday, most of us began the nine-day prayer on the traditional day. This was a great preparation for the mission ratified when the Holy Spirit came upon Our Lady and the Apostles. It is the time when the Holy Spirit comes upon us and fills us with the gifts needed to carry on our mission as Catholics. On Pentecost the Church was born.

Read More »

Our Blessed Mother Joins the Eucharistic Pilgrimage

To highlight a strong Marian aspect of the National Eucharistic Revival during the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA is holding a “Eucharistic Revival Statue Tour” that will travel from the East Coast to the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, arriving on July 16.

Read More »

Stay Up to Date!

Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.