©Michele L. Catanese
Note: Next post will be November 20.
* This is a reference to an explanation of All Souls Day found in the November issue of Magnificat on page 34.
** I referenced the following article http://www.catholic.org/saints/allsouls/. The author generally points out other biblical references found in Zechariah, Sirach, and the Gospel of Matthew. However, be forewarned that the references in 2 Maccabees are misstated in the body of this article. The author cited 2 Macc 12:26 and 32, but that is totally incorrect. It should read 2 Macc 12:44-46.
More resources are: All Saints: http://www.catholic.org/saints/allsaints/
All Souls: https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-all-souls-day-542460
1. I took this photo on the hiking trip mentioned at Garner State Park in Concan, Texas. It was an overcast day and we were hiking near the river on an ill-defined trail, which was so because the park had suffered from flash flooding a year ago and the trail had not been fully "rehabilitated." I chose to use this here not only because it was part of the hiking trip but because of the clarity of the water. Being able to see the bottom of the river and everything in it at that point reminded me of the unseen becoming visible to us through prayer.
2. This is a painting by Duccio di Buoninsegna, one of my favorite religious artists. It is The Descent to Hell (1308-11). It depicts the descent of Jesus into Sheol after He died on the cross, referred to in the Apostles' Creed: "He descended into hell and on the third day He rose again from the dead...." There is also a reference in Matthew 27:52-53 to the souls of the just seen in Jerusalem after Jesus died. I chose to use it here because it shows the holy souls being released to rise into Heaven as new saints.
3. This is an image painted by Fr. William Hart McNichols called The Souls of the Just Are in the Hands of God. I chose to use it here because it references Wisdom 3:1-9 which contains the lovely passage often used at funerals that describes the loving care God gives to the souls who pass from this life through death to new life. There is a gentleness in the way the rising holy souls are seen. If you are interested in purchasing this image in one of many formats you can find it at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-souls-of-the-just-are-in-the-hands-of-god-172-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
4. This image is incredibly moving and it was the inspiration for this entire post: it is a magnificent painting by James Tissot called And the Angels Ministered to Him. (1898) It shows Jesus right after the temptations by the devil have ended and the angels surround Him with their love and care. When I reflect upon this image it helps me to realize that the holy ones and the angels are surrounding each of us whenever we are in danger or in need even though they remain unseen. No matter what happens they are there to assist us. They do not alter the outcome of a situation, but they remain with us throughout to comfort and pray.
5. This is one of my photos taken at Lost Maples State Natural Area in Vanderpool, TX. I chose to use it here because the moss on the dead branch seemed to be enveloping it with a vibrancy that spoke to me of the life which surrounds us when we are feeling a bit lifeless due to loneliness or suffering.
6. This is The Good Samaritan by Vincent van Gogh. I chose to use it here because the Samaritan is carrying out the corporal works of mercy by helping the wounded Jew. There is a welcome in this action because the Samaritan is helping one who would be an enemy; at that time these two cultures were enemies of one another, therefore his heroic act is transcending the culture and doing what we all should do, which is to love our neighbor no matter who he or she might be.
7. Finally, this is another of my photos taken on our hike at Lost Maples. I chose this because the water droplets on the fern are very tiny and could have gone unnoticed. The water was clinging to the fern's leaves when I snapped the photo and later when we made the return trip it was still there just as it had been previously. This made me think of the gentle presence of our beloved dead, the holy souls and the saints, who are ever present almost tenaciously. That is a very comforting thought.