Reflection for Wednesday, November 2, 2011: Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed (All Souls)

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Wirth, Eileen
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"The souls of the just are in the hands of God and no torment shall touch them." Book of Wisdom ||Among the pictures on my refrigerator are the newspaper obit and photo of my lifelong academic/professional mentor and a funeral card of a lawyer friend from Kansas City who died far too young of cancer a year ago.|When I think of Wilma, I remember her kindness and generosity in guiding my career for years, as she did for many others. When I look at Jim's photo, I remember numerous fun weekends in Kansas City with his first wife who died of cancer at 40, leaving him to raise their three children. I especially recall his loyalty to old friends whom others had abandoned for good reasons. But that wasn't Jim. Both Wilma and Jim more than qualified as "just souls" by any reasonable criteria.|But Wilma was an agnostic whose memorial service was completely secular and Jim, who was raised Catholic, was buried from the Protestant church he had joined with his second wife. Growing up as I did in an era when I knew no non-believers and we talked about "fallen away Catholics," I might once have worried about their fate in the after life.|However today's reading from Wisdom gives us a wonderful and wonderfully comforting insight into God's all encompassing love for all His people. It suggests that God's care and mercy extend to all who have lived just lives, not only those who meet whatever set of criteria various humans and organizations have established. God's love cannot be confined to the silos we have established.|Although no one knows what the after life will be like, I cannot envision a heaven closed to good people who were denied the gift of faith or worshiped God in a fashion different from my own. I look forward to reuniting with my personal collection of saints of many faiths and backgrounds. May they ALL, regardless of religious persuasion, rest in peace.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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