One of the many occupational hazards of being a church musician is the liturgical hangovers we can get from the major church feasts. I spend most of the Christmas season (the liturgical version of which begins on Christmas day and lasts for a few weeks) nearly catatonic following the glut of advent/Christmas celebrations. And after the hullabaloo of All Saints’ Day (processions and blessings and litanies, oh my!), it is easy for me to let my relief at having survived the solemnity distract me from the beauty of the day that follows.
Today is the solemnity of all souls, which is for, as one “man on the street” interview recently put it, all the “leftovers”. Being a saint is what I’m shooting for, but I’m much more likely to end up in that group of leftovers, all the faithful departed, those who did all right, but still have a ways to go.
I know that purgatory sounds like one of those overly legalistic things that Catholics fret about unnecessarily, but I thank God for purgatory. As someone who goes to bed each night not quite ready for the beatific vision, it is comforting to know that there is a way for God to help me figure it out.
That I am both made to live in love with God forever, and utterly incapable of being as loving as I ought, is a tricky paradox to live with. But God’s house has many dwelling places, and maybe there is one for the broken, the weak, the partially heroic, the trying-really-hard.