The Ominous Visitor
As I remember it, I was five when I opened the door to a strange visitor who showed up at our house on Halloween. He or she was taller than most trick-or-treaters and wore a makeshift costume of a long coat and one of those hard plastic masks, the kind that scratches your ears, with inadequate openings for the eyes. Eerily, on the dark night of ghosts and goblins, this interloper was absolutely quiet. I had no idea who was before me.
Wide-eyed, I noticed that the coat resembled my dad’s and the mask was of Snow White, just like one my sister had worn the previous Halloween night.
But this character’s silence spooked me so much that I started to cry, whereupon the visitor dropped knee-high and hugged me. “It’s me,” Mom said, soothingly.
Neuroscientists tell us we refine memories, that we reshape them as we recollect. Maybe it was a Tweety Bird mask. Was I really six? Was that my aunt’s coat? The accuracy of old details aren’t important. The memory is true in impact and meaning: Mom liked to joke, and her natural response was to comfort, reassure her crying boy.
Remembrance is built of such bright moments, memories that craft a whole person in our minds, whether or not that person is with us. As the holidays and winter approach, with All Souls’ Day on November 2, it’s a rich time to bring remembrance to mind, both in ceremony and in commonplace memories. “Remembrance” is the theme of this issue of Liguorian.
Regis Martin, STD, guides us through a short exercise on eschatology: the theological study of death, judgment, heaven, and hell. (It’s not as scary as it may sound.) Andrew Minto, PhD, continues our series on the spiritual works of mercy with praying for the living and the dead. Columnist Kate Basi writes about praying for the dead and asking them to pray for us.
You’ll also notice a column by Fr. Byron Miller, CSsR, Liguori Publications’ new president. Fr. Donald Willard has become pastor of St. Alphonsus Church in Brooklyn Center, MN. We’ll miss him here and we welcome Fr. Byron, who has written for Liguorian many times.
What do you like about Liguorian? What would you like to change? We’re eager to hear from you. Please write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.