FROM THE DIRECTOR
Fr. Reginald Martin, O.P.
I have more than once observed that this issue of Light and Life presents something of an embarrassment of theological riches. We begin with the Month of the Rosary and progress into the Month of the Holy Souls. The Rosary draws us to reflect on Jesus' promise of resurrection and eternal life, and the Church's doctrine of Purgatory invites us to put that faith into action, rejoicing in the hope of our own salvation, and praying for the salvation of those who have died.
The Rosary and our prayers for the dead are signs of the community we share as a result of our Baptism. Our Catechism teaches, "Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ: 'Therefore…we are members of one another'." (#1267) The months of October and November provide a special opportunity for us to reflect on the bonds that unite us in life - and do not cease to unite us when we die. These two months also provide a special opportunity to pray for those in need.
I have been thinking ahead to next February's Light and Life, and reading a series of homilies preached for a novena to honor our Lady of Lourdes by an English Dominican, in 1933. He tells of paying a visit to a dying woman who asked whether she might bypass her pain medication and offer her discomfort for her son, who had made some poor moral choices.
"Can I refuse morphia and offer my suffering for the boy's salvation?" What could I say but yes? Now she died in terrible agony, but perfectly happy…By [the pain] she was carrying, so she hoped, more and more of the punishment that her boy should have carried. She with every added pain, felt she was carrying more of the cross.
Whether we wish to embrace such heroism is a personal decision, but it illustrates our belief in the sacramental ties that link us to one another. When we pray the Rosary, we become a part of the events the mysteries proclaim; we may ask God to direct the fruits of our prayer however we wish.
The Church has suffered a great deal for its belief in Purgatory. Part of this, no doubt, is the result of fantastic images portrayed by over-zealous preachers. What the Church teaches is very simple, "The souls of the just which, in the moment of death, are burdened with venial sins or temporal punishment due to sins, enter Purgatory." Twenty-four words, with no mention of specific punishment or time to be spent. Simply a message of hope in God's mercy.
The Rosary Center invites you to rejoice in this immense hope. Each day of November we will offer Mass for the happy repose of the souls of your loved ones who have died. Please list their names on the enclosed paper and return them to us. We will, of course, remember you and your intentions during these holy months, and we beg you to pray for us and our work.
LOOKING FOR A NEW CHILD'S BOOK?
We are quite pleased to offer The Miracle of the Dancing Sun at Fatima, an interactive, devotional and doctrinal book designed to broaden the faith of young people. Although it is presented as a "companion" to the animated film The Day the Sun Danced, the book can be enjoyed by itself, and its clever question and answer format is quite engaging. In the course of her encounters with the young children at Fatima, the Blessed Mother instructed them in the necessity of receiving the Eucharist and the value of praying the Rosary. The text makes clear and simple presentations of these truths, and follows each of them with quizzes and prayers to help the message "stick."
2 Novenas of Masses in honor of
The Rosary Center
PO Box 3617
Portland, OR 97208 USA