The month of November draws our attention to the Communion of Saints in heaven and the need to pray for all the souls in Purgatory. It also should draw our attention to the spiritual battle for our souls.
As we celebrate the saints in Heaven we are inspired by their example, strengthened by their prayers, and encouraged by their victory in Christ. With the Lord’s help they were able to overcome their sins and weaknesses and grow into holy men and women. With God’s help they were able to prevail over the forces of darkness. That is definitely something to celebrate!
After the Solemnity of All the Saints on November 1, we celebrated the Commemoration of All Souls on November 2, a day to remember our deceased family members and friends and pray for them. We then continue to pray for all the souls in Purgatory throughout the month, helping them through their final purification before entrance into heaven.
Behind both of these days on the church calendar is a reality we don’t talk about enough — the reality of the battle between good and evil that is the context of each of our lives.
Since we now live in a more secular time, there is a lack of attention to the spiritual life. We are busy with so many things that it takes some real effort to slow down and pay attention to the deeper things of life, especially in a culture that doesn’t recognize such things. And even if we do spend some time in deeper reflection, we are often not aware of the spiritual battle going on for our souls. Although most unfortunate, this is not surprising because we haven’t really been taught about it.
I was happy to do a presentation on Angels and Demons at Terra Sancta on November 4. The presentation preceded a viewing of the film “Nefarious” which is a fictional account of a possessed man on death row. My goal in doing this event (which was very well attended, sold out in fact) was to speak about the spiritual battle and its importance.
While the movie is about a rare and dramatic reality — demon possession — it gave me the opportunity to give a teaching on the beauty of God’s angels. It also afforded me the chance to remind all of us that we, like the angels, have been given the gift of free will and how we use that gift is of ultimate importance.
Like the angels we must choose between good and evil. Being an honest person, being faithful to our spouse, learning to discipline our desires are choices for what is good and they lead us toward God. Falling into sin, being unfaithful and dishonest are choices for evil and lead us away from God.
Every day we have the opportunity to choose good and reject evil. Because our society increasingly confuses good and evil it is more important than ever to spend some time learning about the spiritual battle we are all involved in. That was the purpose for my presentation and the discussion we had on November 4.
As we pray for our deceased loved ones this month, let us also pray for each other, that we may grow in our awareness of the spiritual battle and the importance of our choices for good each day. May God help us to grow in holiness and help others to do the same.