I doubt that very many of those who dressed up in costume and partied hearty on Halloween have a real sense of what the day was all about. The term we now use is a corruption of the original phrase which is All Hallows Eve – the night which used to be observed with prayer and vigil before The Feast of All Saints, November 1st.
Remembering those who had set examples of goodness and virtue for us on All Saints Day was so important to the minds of the Church’s theologians, that it was incorporated into the calendar as a Day of Obligation, when the faithful were required to attend a liturgy in commemoration of those who had gone before us and were now enshrined in heaven.
But there is a third day in this sequence, November 2nd which commemorates all who have died, the Feast of All Souls. In the liturgy, at least as it used to be structured, the names of those who had passed and whose loved ones wanted to remember them, would be read during the service. The liturgy was offered specifically on their behalf, as well as all those who had died and who were no longer remembered by anyone.
And that brings me to sharing a story with you:.
There was a very average man who lived some while ago. He was average in every way. He was of average height, average looks, average intelligence and had an average job. He was a nice enough chap, but there was nothing about him which caused him to stand out in a crowd.
One day it happened that he was introduced to a young lady who was anything but average. She was beautiful, charming, witty, extremely bright and was a gourmet cook as well. Although smitten by her, he didn’t feel that he was the sort of person in whom she would ever take an interest. But he was wrong. She loved his company.
Well this average man and this charming lady began seeing each other. He adored their time together – as apparently so did she. And after months and many dates had gone by, he finally got up the nerve to ask her to marry him – holding his breath for fear the she would reject his proposal. But much to his delight she accepted and they were wed.
Every day our average man was inspired to enjoy his day at work because he knew that his beautiful and loving wife would be home to receive him at day’s end, one of her wonderful meals waiting for him. He couldn’t believe what a fortunate man he was to have found such an incredible companion. When he experienced a bump in the road, his wife was always by his side to help pick him up. And when he was enjoying good fortune, sharing it with her made it even better.
And so they lived their lives together for twenty-five years. Their only disappointment was that they never had children – but they had each other and that seemed to be enough for both of them.
One day when he returned him, our average man found his beautiful wife dead on the sofa of their home. Apparently without any warning, she had suffered a fatal heart attack and passed away. As you can imagine, he was beside himself with grief at the shock of her death. And he was filled with anger.
He was angry at his wife, on whom he so depended, for dying. He was angry at the neighbors who came by to try to comfort him. He was angry at the world. And he was angry at God. He was angry in a very un-average way.
The day before his wife’s funeral, he was sitting in the funeral home from which she was to be buried, alone – or so he thought – with the coffin containing her remains. Seeing his wife’s corpse in the casket brought on a great wave of anger and he directed this at God.
“How could you have taken her from me? She was so young. It’s just not fair that you did this to her and to me. What will I do now without her? She was my love and my life. I don’t know how I can go on.”
Much to his surprise, he heard a voice. Whether it was in the room or his head he wasn’t sure. But it was the voice of Wisdom. He believed it was the voice of God speaking to him.
“Look at yourself and listen to what you are saying. You know that you have always been an average man and you received an exceptional gift in your wife from Me. You didn’t have any reason either to expect or hope for such a wonderful companion – yet I made you this extraordinary present and during the years you had together you were always happy.”
“But I didn’t give her to you to own. No person has the right to believe that he or she owns another. Rather, I made you a loan. And as with all loans, in My own way I decided that the term of the loan had concluded and I called it in – a loan for which you provided no collateral and had no reason to expect would be made to you in the first place.”
“Therefore, do not turn to Me in anger but in gratitude, since you enjoyed your wonderful wife for the many years you had together. There are those on earth who have never known that sort of love for even one fleeting moment of their lives. It is for them that you should shed your tears – not for yourself.”
Moral: Please write your own and, if you like, share it with us.