Friday, November 02, 2012

Happy All Souls' Day

Celebrated: by Catholics and other Christians, worldwide

I've been gone for a month, I know. Sorry about that, but what a month it's been. Thanks to everyone who gave me and Books to Die For shelter, sustenance and support, and most particularly to John Connolly, who was a friend before he was a client. He and Declan Burke have many reasons to be proud, not least of which is this review from yesterday's Washington Post, which pays the book the tremendous compliment of taking it as seriously as it deserves. Because in the end, isn't that the only thing that matters: to have someone pay attention, and take one's effort seriously? Attention must be paid, as the lady said.

The official name of this day, in the Catholic Church, is The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed. Yesterday was All Saints' Day; the promise of our faith is that we can all be saints, and therefore, as my old CCD teacher Sister Anne Matthew used to tell us, it is something we should all aspire to. But God's ways are not our ways, and because we cannot know what happens to us after death, we pray for the souls of the faithful departed — on this day, particularly, but every day, and not least because one day we'll be one of them. The prayer we say is simple and direct:
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Last week I was briefly in Quebec, a magical city I'd never visited before, and got to see Notre-Dame de Quebec, seat of the oldest Catholic diocese in North America. The cathedral, rebuilt in the 1920s, is a dazzling display of gilding and stained glass, but it was the ceiling that mesmerized me: a long panel of blue sky, with white clouds illuminated by an invisible sun. I couldn't find any public-domain photos to post here, but you can see other people's pictures of it here, here, and here. I toured the old city on a bright, sunny day, but what a magical thing that ceiling must be in the depths of a Quebec winter: the promise of sunshine, and warmth, and rest.

I've come down with a cold, the first in a year, and am rather terrifyingly behind on many different projects, so I apologize if you're waiting on something from me, and I'll get it to you as quickly as I can. The sun's come out after days of gray skies, and I have power, Internet and coffee, which is more than so many people have this morning.

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