And thery:Â range from SaintsÂ Peter and Paul,Â Ignatius of Loyola toÂ Pedro Calungsod and Lorenzo Ruiz.
IncludedÂ in the feastÂ Â areÂ as those equally blessed but whose names are, often unknown They areÂ thereforeÂ tagged with lower Â case â€œSâ€.
The following dayâ€™s festivalÂ is more familiar to us Â Â and known asÂ as â€œAll Souls Day. â€
Latinos callÂ this: Dia de los Dinfuntos. â€œInÂ Hungary, ithey say: â€œhalotak napjaâ€ and in Syriaâ€ â€œYom el Maouta.â€.
Here, cemteries are crammed with crowds who tend spurced up graves, lighted with garish llights for a coupleÂ ofÂ days. ManyÂ pray even as Â karaoke speakers blast away.
Bored editors plow through â€œde-cajon storiesâ€:: traffic jams, jostling crowds, on the lookout for anything â€“ anything â€“ that will depart from last yearâ€™s formula.
The sentiment is universal. â€œLift us up, that we may see further, as one by one, You gather scattered families, from the distractions, strife and weariness of time, to the peace of eternity,.â€ The anicient prayer goes,
This October,, Pope Francis canonized togetherÂ Â the first married couple in modernn times. Louis and Zelie Martin were the parentsÂ ofÂ St Therese of Lisieux
In her autobiograhpy â€œThe Story of AÂ Soul, St Therese, often calledÂ â€œThe Little Flowerâ€, says her formative years were most shaped by her parents. After herÂ dyiing mother receivedÂ extreme unction,Â her father â€œtook me in his arms and had her kiss the forehead of Zelie>
They underscroreÂ Â the central â€“ and stunning â€”Â reality remains of life beyond a handful of ashes.,
Halloween is a contraction of â€œAll Hallows Eveâ€ Â 1848, Irish immigrants brought those spooky costumes to the US where it continues today as a fun-filled kidsâ€™ feast.
ButÂ reaching out to the departed goes back thousandsÂ ofÂ years.Â â€œIt is a good and wholesome thought to pray for the dead,â€ declares the ancientÂ Book of Macabees.
By the year 998, the Benedictine abbot Oddilo of Cluny picked November 2 for remembrance. ThisÂ practice spread to other countries, including the Philippines .
The living aid the departed, the teaching went, by asceticismâ€™s trio: prayer, sacrifice and alms. Theyâ€™d help atone for past transgressions, and pave entry into the Beatific Vision.
WeÂ Filipinos use the idiom itaga mo sa bato to assert utmost confidence,â€ Pastor Lino Pantoja writes. â€œ â€˜Oh, that my words were engraved in rock forever, â€œ the biblical figure Job wrote.â€™â€
Theyâ€™re words ofÂ Jobâ€™sÂ primitive theology of the Resurrection: â€œI know that my Redeemer lives. And in the end, He will stand forth upon the earth. And after my skin shall have been destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.â€
These words were written 2,500 years before Easterâ€™s empty tomb. And in 1741, George Fredric Handel hadÂ worked it into his soaring oratorio that the world never forgot: â€œThe Messiah.â€
Our grandchildrenÂ belongÂ toÂ the post-Vatican IIÂ generation.Â TheyÂ neverÂ heard what echoed in requiem services of our long-vanished youth: theÂ Dies Irae (â€œDay of Wrathâ€) inÂ plain chant.
Tuba mirum spargen sonum/Per sepulchra regionum/Coget omnes ante thronum, the choir would sing.Â My now-hazy freshman Latin translates that into: Â â€œTrumpets blare through sepulchers, calling all to appear before judgmentâ€™sÂ throne.â€
Young and old, however share the universal aching for assurance of what lies beyond the grave.
â€œIf only I could see him, for just a second, and know heâ€™s all right, Iâ€™d be able to cope,â€ Seamus tells the priest blessing his sonâ€™s crumpled body, killed in an accident.
â€œI remembered Seamusâ€™ commentâ€ at a Mass for a student accident victim, writes Jesuit theologian Catalino Arevalo. â€ TheÂ boyâ€™s classmates chose the Transfiguration for gospel reading. â€œThe one about Jesus going up to the mountain and changing into dazzling white,â€ they suggested.
â€œIt struck me, for the first time, that Jesus allowed his friends to see, â€˜for just a secondâ€™, what was beyond.Â Their reaction was strange: Â they did not want to leave the spot. Itâ€™s â€˜wonderful for us to be here.â€™ But Jesus reminded them they had to go down the mountain.
â€œWhat if we could get some vision, â€˜for only just a secondâ€™?Â Or if we could, â€˜for only just a secondâ€™, see people whoâ€™ve gone before us, in faith, especially those suddenly or tragically taken, in that place of light that is Godâ€™s promise?
â€œWhat if we, too, had some authentic extended experience of what â€˜our eyes have not seen, nor our ears heardâ€™ ofÂ what God preparedÂ for those who are faithful?
â€œIt is truly the better thing that an authentic extended experience is not given us â€” because we would not want to leave the spot.Â Better still because there is still so much of the humdrum, the frustrating, the difficult for us to endure, and if possible, with courage, to build some small beginnings of the Kingdom which Jesus wanted to make our work in this world.â€
Whether in the dim catacombs, off Romeâ€™s Appian way, or in our garishly lighted cemeteries, All Soulsâ€™ DayÂ speaks to us in Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagoreâ€™s poignant verse: â€œDeath is not the extinguishing of life. It is putting out the lamp, because dawn has come.â€ ####Â (By Â JuanÂ Â LÂ Mercado)