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.