What a year we have had, huh? 2020 has been a crazy journey for all of us. I think the most intense part of it is that death has been in our face more than ever. With sickness, violence, natural disasters, and more happening one after the other, it is impossible to forget the ever-approaching end, whether for ourselves or the whole world.
Fall is an interesting time to think about this reality that we are facing more intensely this year. Many of us look forward to this time as the season of pumpkin spice, scarves, and breaking out the boots, but it is also a time of endings. Leaves are turning brilliant colors as they prepare to die, the grass is turning brown, the sun grows less warm, and the night comes sooner than it did in the hot days of summer.
As fall reminds us of endings amidst a year that has been full of them, I wanted to join with you in whatever endings you have been experiencing. Whether someone precious to you has died, or you have lost your house, or the "you" you were before all of this, you're not alone. The impending mystery of death, whether a small one or a larger one, is one that paralyzes even the greatest of us with uncertainty and even fear.
Liturgically, the Church accompanies us through this autumnal time of solemnity. Halloween, All Saints, and All Souls day, along with the series of “repent” gospels in November, remind us of the hard parts of our fallen world. They point a way forward as we prepare for Advent and Christmas when Jesus brought light and hope to the darkness.
I want to take some time to be with you in the hard parts of this year, as we all journey towards hope together, so this month's theme is Memento Mori, which means “Remember (your) death.” It's not out of a weird preoccupation with morbidity that this phrase is important, but rather that it frames life – this isn't all there is. There will come a time when, in the words of Jesus to Julian of Norwich, "in the end all shall be well."
With this theme, I've created some new items, including a soy candle for your prayer time – scented with the elements of fall that we anticipate: leaves, apples, and a hint of spice. There are a couple of other items in this theme coming soon. Keep an eye out for those as we walk this path of hope that acknowledges our struggles, and looks to a future that will heal them.
Praying with you, this 2020 –