November 3, 2008

The Friars' Cemetery

One of the perks of my current assignment is that I live and work on the same campus as the cemetery for the friars. I can easily visit the deceased brothers from time to time. I can also visit my own final resting place and contemplate the day of my burial in a pretty concrete way. If I die in the Order, that is, thanks to many who must be praying for my perseverance.

Yesterday I spent some time in the cemetery for All Souls Day, hoping to receive the indulgence for someone I wanted to give it to. I counted 36 friars who had concluded their pilgrimage in this world in the eight years since I entered the Order. Most I knew to one degree or another; a few I had lived and prayed with in community. I went through each of them, praying for them and thanking them for the prayers and example. When I went to pray the Our Father and the Creed prescribed for the indulgence, the "Our" and the "We" with which they respectively begin really struck me. I felt as though I was praying with the deceased brothers, wherever they found themselves in their journey. I thought, as I often do, of the last words my formation director said to me before my priestly ordination: "Reflect on the communion of saints...that's the only this makes sense."

Oremus pro invicem, fratres.


Anonymous said...

The homily I heard yesterday was a combination of your last 2 posts. Our priest spoke to us about how the souls in purgatory were a part of the communion of saints and how important it is that we pray for one another. It has made me very grateful for my wife, who insists that we pray for the poor souls at every meal.

My understanding is that the indulgence can be gained once per day durring the octave, is that correct?

Brother Charles said...

Yes, it's my understanding that the indulgence (which is partial on any day) is plenary on each day of the octave of All Souls.