From the President and Publisher
Divine Love, Forever
In the pages of this magazine more than a decade ago, I wrote about the dreaded operations I had as a youngster. They occurred every time I got a splinter in my hand while climbing trees in the yard. When my dad returned from work, he’d ask me to stretch out my hand under a bright light so he could perform the open-palm surgery with his sterilized pocketknife.
I vividly remember all the blood, sweat, and tears shed over my fear that the splinter might enter my bloodstream and swim to my heart. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth—mostly by my fainthearted mother, who hid her eyes and supported me from afar. While I was under the knife, my dad chatted with me. His effective distraction eased the misery of a petrified, howling kid.
This memory makes me wonder if Jesus got splinters assisting St. Joseph in his carpentry work. If so, how did Joseph remove them, and was the ordeal as painful for Jesus as it was for me?
I also wonder how agonizing it must have been for Jesus’ dad, his Abba, to witness his Son being delivered into the callous hands of his persecutors. Yet Jesus willingly stretched out his hands on a splintered cross, opening his heart to heal our wounded nature, while Mary, his heartbroken mother, closed her eyes and supported him at his feet. Our hope for eternal life hangs on this open-palm, open-heart experience.
These thoughts came to mind as my sisters and I witnessed the passing of our parents within the last fifteen months. My first All Souls’ Day without both of them is particularly poignant this year as I ask, “How does one mend a splintered heart?” How to let go of something in myself that had to die with them? Conversely, how to hold on to something of them in me that I refuse to let die with their passing?
Life comes and goes, but love never dies when it’s divinely instilled. Because Abba created us out of love and fashioned us in his image, he lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us (see 1 John 4:12).
On All Souls’ Day, the Church especially celebrates the bonds of God’s love that unite its members on earth, in purgatory, and in heaven. For more than a thousand years, we’ve commemorated this transcendent bond on the second day of November, whether at Mass, in a cemetery, or on a home altar to the faithful departed. This bond between the living and deceased is so vital to our spiritual wellbeing that All Souls’ is celebrated even when November 2 falls on a Sunday. It’s the Church’s engaging way of saying that despite life’s distractions—and all its blood, sweat, and tears—the love of the past is alive in the present and opens our heart to a collective, hope-filled future.