I began this particular blogging project twenty-four weeks ago. It is my firm belief that amidst the noise of parenting, the messiness that comes with life, and the constant energy we expend on going everywhere and doing everything, there is a silver lining of beauty in the midst. And, it is up to each and every single one of us to find the beauty in the middle of our mess of life.
It is my firm belief no matter how difficult life seems, there is something for which to be grateful – even if it is gratitude for the difficult time, for the sheer belief that through pain comes strength, or wisdom, or life-lessons learned.
My hope with this Gratitude Project was that it would propel my readers and followers to find some beauty in their lives – and, to thank God for the silver lining that all too often, I think we overlook.
And, I also needed this project to help me focus on the positives in my life – finding the positives and the beauty in the midst of what seems to be perpetual messiness of life.
This week, the Catholic Church celebrated two happy feast days:
The Feast of All Saints on Wednesday – which was a Holy Day of Obligation, which means all Catholics (above the age of reason) were obligated to attend Mass. It was a celebration of the Holy Men and Women who have gone before us, paving the way to Heaven with a reminder that we all have histories, we all have baggage, we all have a past. Yet, they didn’t let their past define them – instead, they let their past mold their faith, and allowed them to embrace God, and keep their eyes on the end goal of eternity. I don’t think any of us could find any better role models than those who kept their focus on God – keeping their relationships real with Him, and allowing Him to work through their hands and feet to make this world a better place!
The Feast of All Souls is always the day after the Feast of All Saints. This particular feast day is a more sober one to me, simply because it highlights those we know who have gone before us, perhaps recently deceased, who will become saints (whether recognized officially by the Catholic Church or not) after spending some time repenting for their sins on earth. This is a controversial teaching for those outside the Catholic Church – I get that! However, in my opinion, it is a beautiful teaching.
Think of it this way: when we sin, our souls get a little dirty – a little muddy. We want to come inside the house and embrace our mother or father (or, the host of a grand party), but we are dirty – everything is soiled from the frolicking in the dirt and mud (the sin we commit here on earth). So, before we embrace that host of the grand party? We need to rinse off – to clean off. And, that is the belief of Purgatory – we are cleansing our souls so as to embrace our Lord and Savior, who is ready and waiting to greet us at the front door of His Immaculate home.
This week, as I prepared this post, I kept coming back to this week’s feast days. And, I kept realizing I am so very grateful for the gift of my Faith.
There once was a time I didn’t understand the concepts around Purgatory. There are still days I struggle to understand the relevance of the saints – of the Holy Men and Women who have gone before us.
But, this week, as I contemplated the saints in Heaven and the souls in Purgatory, I realized that those two teachings provide me with both comfort and hope.
The saints were real people – like you and me! They made mistakes, they sinned, and many of them struggled!
And yet, they also took time to allow the Holy Spirit to transform them – they allowed the Holy Spirit to guide them to God, to repent of their sins, and to work to bring His love and care to others.
The souls in Purgatory remind me no matter what things look like here, if I make it to Purgatory, someday I will be in Heaven! No matter how bleak things look here, there is still One who bestows an Infinite Mercy toward me – so much so, that He gives us a final chance to have our souls cleansed of sins we may not even know we’ve committed! It’s a final act of love and mercy given to every single one of us!
My Faith allows me to relish in these beliefs – and to have hope for the world.
No matter how messy this world becomes, no matter how bleak our situations look, and no matter how busy we find ourselves, there is still One who loves us with unimaginable Love and Mercy!
Which is the ultimate beauty of this world.
For what are you most grateful this week?
Until next week, dear reader…