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After a glorious fall season, with an incredibly warm October, November has arrived with a vengeance, bringing the cold, snow and double digit minus temperatures that we expect at this time of the year!
Apart from the cold, November, for me, is a month for remembering. We begin with All Saints Day on November Ist, when we remember all the known Saints of the Church and how we are all linked together in the Communion of Saints.
There are too many “known” saints to think of them all on one day, so I like to read the stories, be inspired and pray to my favourite saints on that special day.
November 2nd is All Souls Day, when we remember all those we have known who have died. During this day and all through the month of November I think about and pray for all the beautiful souls I have known in my life. I often look at photographs or keepsakes belonging to them, bringing back great memories. As I pray, I remember and am grateful and thank God for allowing our paths to cross. Some I have travelled with along life’s journey for many years, some only a few years and some only a few hours or minutes. But all have blessed my life in some way and on this day especially, as I pray, I try to catch the memories and be grateful.
After All Souls Day, the next remembering day in November is Remembrance Day, on November 11. This is the day we remember, especially, family members who left home and travelled overseas to fight for peace and justice on our behalf.
In our family, it’s a time when we take out their official army photographs, look at the medals, the service records and read and retell their stories. It is a day of celebration, beginning with the official city Remembrance Day Ceremony.
At every ceremony we hear the words from the poem by Laurence Binyon:
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
We will remember them! When I hear these words, I think about an entire generation, both men and women, who made such great sacrifices on our behalf and I am grateful. Some who left home did not return, some returned, but life was never the same for them after the horrors they had seen and experienced.
So on Remembrance Day I pray for them all, a whole generation of brave and courageous men and women who fought and sacrificed for us, so that we could experience peace and justice.
After World War 1 was over and peace returned to our world, we hoped it would be permanent. Sadly, this was not true.
There have been many wars since. Right now we think about the terrible war in the Ukraine. We think about that beautiful country being levelled and shattered. We think about Ukrainian citizens being killed and tortured. We think of yet another generation whose childhood has been stolen. We think of the courageous men and women who are fighting for peace and justice in their beloved country.
So on Remembrance Day, 2022 we add the Ukraine and its citizens to our prayers.
During the entire remembering month of November, there is a long list of people in our prayers: the known Saints of the Church, the souls we know who have died, the men and women who gave their lives in world wars and now our Ukrainian brothers and sisters who have lost their lives.
It is not easy living in a world where we remember past wars and live in fear of future wars. We hear all around us voices o
f division, hatred, extremism and isolation. Yet we all crave peace in the world. In order to find peace in the world, we must first find peace in ourselves.
In Philippians Chapter 4, verses 8 and 9 there is some great advice on how to counter the voices of division and attain peace:
“Fill your minds with everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honour and everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise. Keep doing all the things you have learned from me and have been taught by me and have heard or seen that I do. Then the God of peace will be with you”