All things must come to an end. For example, November is the month that the Church calendar ends. And like a wise mother, she uses this month to prepare us for our own life’s ending by reminding us what we are living for: heaven.
The first day of November is the grand celebration of All Saints Day. It is the feast day for every human who is in heaven, not just the canonized saints. Someday even we, hopefully, will be among them as “God made us to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world in order to be forever happy with Him in the next.” This is what we spend our lives on earth striving for. Now is the time to think about all the saints we can remember by name and how they have served God. Then we turn our reflections inward to discover how we can emulate them and ask what is God asking of us? The saints are in a fabulous position to help us, as they are with God; we only need to ask for their guidance and support.
The second day in November, and indeed the rest of the month, is a celebration and remembrance of all the holy souls in purgatory. These are the people whose imperfections have kept them from entering heaven upon their death. They are assured of heaven, but need to purify themselves of their temporal punishment due to sin. Referred to as the Church suffering, we pray for them, offering Mass and small deeds of charity on their behalf, asking God to hasten their welcome into heaven. These can be members of our family and friends or they could be strangers from another generation from another part of the world.
Towards the end of the month, we celebrate the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King of the Universe marking the last Sunday of the Church’s calendar. What a grand title that evokes superlative majesty! And so it should be. Every day of the year we walk with Jesus in His life on earth with every gospel reading. We know Him as the person He was when He was on the earth. But He continues to be a person, seated next to Father God and reigns with Him as king over all creation in the universe: every moon, star, planet and galaxy.
We end the Church’s liturgical calendar recognizing that our ending is just the beginning of life everlasting. We strive to know, love and serve God today so that we can be welcomed into heaven, and have hope that our imperfections will not detain us too long in purgatory, so that we can be together with the communion of saints forever praising Jesus our King.