As we continue the pattern of moving inward during the season of autumn, it is natural that we call to mind those who have gone before us, whether in faith, in life, or in our own personal journey.
The beginning of November calls us to do just that, with the Feast of All Saints falling on the first of November and the Feast of All Souls following on the second. Both feast days invite us to remember the “great cloud of witnesses” mentioned in the twelfth chapter of Hebrews—both for the Church as a whole as well as for us individually—honoring their memory and reflecting on their impact on our spiritual journeys.
Traditionally, the period around All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (as well as their predecessor, All Hallow’s Eve) is a liminal one—a time when the veil between heaven and earth is thin. When we apply this intention to this season of turning inward, calling forth the memory of the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us, those who have gone before us can seem especially close.
As we turn our attention to those who have passed, including the saints of the Church who live on in practice and or our own ancestors who live on in memory, I find it important to also remember those who might be still with us and have contributed to our own personal journey, helping to shape who we are today.
Here are 10 ways to remember those who have gone before you on All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day, and throughout the month of November and the season of remembrance:
REMEMBERING THE SAINTS
- Learn more about a saint who has piqued your curiosity
- Discover who your patron saint might be in this season of life
- Read the works of famous saints, such as The Rule of St. Benedict or Teresa of Ávila’s The Interior Castle
- Explore some of the practices of the saints, such as the Ignatian practice of Examen
REMEMBERING YOUR ANCESTORS
- Go through a photo album containing images of family members who have passed, sparking memories of times gone by
- Discover unknown ancestors by doing ancestry research through ancestry.com
- Reflect on traits, values, and patterns that have been passed down to you through generations—both blessings and challenges—celebrating the gifts and setting an intention to pursue healing where needed
REMEMBERING YOUR MENTORS + GUIDES
- Reflect on who you feel has contributed significantly to your journey, whether teachers, authors, ministers, or friends
- Reach out to those with whom you are in contact and tell them how much their presence in your life has shaped you
- Revisit the works of favorite authors or activists who have influenced your journey along the way
As you practice remembering the saints, remembering your ancestors, and remembering your mentors and guides, create an altar of remembrance somewhere in your home that you pass regularly, placing on it images and artifacts that will call you to remember those who have gone before you each day.