Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hope For All Souls

It's that time of year again when the souls of the faithful departed come forefront to our prayers.  Though we pray all throughout the year, the feast of All Souls is an ever-present reminder that we are not of this world and there is life to be hoped for in the next.  As Catholics, we pray that we will not only be reunited with all of our loved ones who've gone before us but also that they make a swift passage, safely home, to rest in peace. {I'm certainly no theologian so more information can be found here and here.}
One of the reasons I first started blogging a few years ago was to share hope after a tragic loss.  At the time, it felt like a calling since writing has always been a therapeutic and spiritual outlet for me.  By sharing hope, I mean living through tough things, even the worst things imaginable and still have a song in your heart, still knowing that God works all things for our greater good. 

I'm not saying that it easily translates to every action.  In fact, sometimes the song in my heart sure doesn't sound very good on the outside at all…I get discouraged and I fail miserably on a daily basis. Yet even when I fall short in bearing wrongs patiently, the song keeps playing.  It's there now, like never before.  It keeps me moving forward, knowing for certain that there's life beyond my trials.  
Hope waits for all of us...
For me, Hope has never been a fluffy white cloud that's easy to reach out and grab ahold of...  Sometimes a Hallmark greeting card might make it seem this way…Like it might be handed to you on a silver platter. Wrong.
The thing is, a song of hope rises directly out of suffering.  I see it as a gift... Not like a gift you open with pretty wrapping paper but a gift like being pulled from a fire. 

Ultimately, hope is a sacrificial gift rooted in the Cross…"The" Cross.  
...A gift called grace.
After all, God Himself was anchored on that Cross so that we might see His abundant gift(s) quite clearly.  That man up there was one of them...He gave us His only Son who was brutally murdered so that we might have hope.  The greatest gift of HOPE rose through the the glory of Christ's Resurrection…Salvation came to life.  

Hope became the window to Eternity so that we might be able to live
If you believe this, nothing else in this life really matters.

Most people who read this blog know my testimony about surviving the horror of my dear and precious husband, Chris, being shot and killed in front of me, senselessly murdered during a robbery while our sleeping baby laid near by.  Who in the world does this random kind of thing happen to for no reason? It still boggles my mind at times.  Well, us, I guess…and our family.  Oh, and Jesus.  Oh, and many innocent children…Oh, and the victims of 9/11… The list goes on and on in my mind now. But for a very long time, I felt like the only victim on the planet.  But in the end it happened to me, just like terrible things happen to a lot of good people out there.  Still, after my world shattered around me I wallowed in the rubble for quite some time.  Hope was a faint echo in the night. It was a very dark place.  Sometimes it still is.  

Sometimes, hope hurts.  I'm sure it did for Jesus hanging on that horrid Cross.

Much like the rewards of hard work, hope reaps amazing rewards but we are often left with a callous or two, or three.  Pain still comes in our daily struggles.  Everyone carries scars to the grave.  I know I will never be able to shake the scars of war and violence that have no earthly cures
I might look like a happy, crafty, homeschooling Mom who has nothing else better to do but make churchy kid food and post pictures about it.  Sometimes I slip into this role because there is where my hope can be pretty.  
Hope must be my habit. 
After once being in a place where I thought I'd never survive such an atrocity, I've come to find that teaching my children about their faith is living beauty….Living hope.  The history of those who've gone before us, living real lives of suffering, teaches us that there is hope despite the hurt, hope despite ourselves.
Inside real life, hope still hurts, yet the healing hope lies just beyond the gate.  Sometimes it's risky to look toward the light, leaving the dysfunctional comfort of our sorrows in a heap.  Yet the freedom of this light flickers inside the deepest recesses of every soul, longing to flee the darkness.  Beyond the shadows of our doubt, life is anchored here and Hope is always worth hoping for.

Today as I pray for Chris and All Souls, I light a candle of hope.  May it be our greatest desire!

{More on Hope...}

14 comments:

  1. Beautiful post, Tiffany! I know I've said it before, but you have a gift with words. I'm always so happy to see an update on my homepage when you post... I read them all even if I don't always comment. :) +JMJ+

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    1. Thank you, Annita! I was just going to send you an e-mail to say hello when you popped in:) I miss my friends here, like you, when I'm not blogging very much. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you and your family are doing well:) Have a blessed Sunday!

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  2. Bello y profundo post, te felicito Tiffany. Un abrazo. Bendiciones!!!

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    1. Thank you so much! Hugs and blessings right back to you:)

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  3. Beautifully written, Tiffany.

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  4. Thank you for this posting, Tiff. Yesterday I carried a lit candle with my mother's name on it along with others from my parish who have lost a loved one this year, up to the altar at the start of mass. The lit candles remained at the foot of the altar during mass, and the petitions included each name. I can't remember a mass where I felt that we all in that church were family, but of course we always are, every day. And we support one another, in hope. As family, as the Body of Christ.

    If you're up to some inspiring reading about who and what we are, I strongly recommend Luigi Guissani's book: Why the Church? Taken from talks to young people, he so clearly explains what is in the depths of our being.

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    1. Bless you, Tom! We have a similar ceremony and Mass in our parish and I know what you mean…Wow, Nothing like that unity between Church militant, expectant, and triumphant! I am ALWAYS up for new inspiration so thank you for that recommendation…I'll definitely check it out. Thank you for popping in:)

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  5. What a beautiful post, Tiffany! You know I totally agree with you too. A song of hope definitely rises directly out of suffering and I can testify to that!! Faith and hope go hand in hand. You truly cannot have one without the other. They are twin blessings given to us by Him to sustain us through the trials of this world. They both lead us to Him and enable us to let Him take care of us!
    Thanks for starting my day with a smile sweet friend.
    Blessings always xo

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  6. "Hope must be my habit"- yes!! As the other commenters said, this is a beautiful post. I see your hope in the way that you treasure those everyday mom moments. And I love that you share those with us as well as your struggles and refections.

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    1. Hi Laurie~Thanks for stopping by! I always treasure your thoughts…Have a blessed week:)

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  7. I love this - "hope must be my habit" - what a beautiful phrase. You could get that printed on a t-shirt and it would be a best seller ;) As always, you inspire me to be a better follower of Christ, better wife and mom too. Thanks for sharing your heart!

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    1. Hi Jen~OH, I would love to have a t-shirt that says that! Wish I were that resourceful! Lol Thank you for your kind support over the years…You are a gem:)

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