In November, the landscape is stripped away to settle gently into the white silence of winter. A privileged moment to remember our dearly departed ones who have migrated to infinity, to another life. In November, it is these loved ones who inhabit our memory and our hope. “Let not your heart be troubled”, Jesus tells us, “You believe in God, believe in me.” There is plenty of room in my Father’s house; I am going to prepare a place for you. You know where I am going, and you know the way.”

This path of hope traced by Jesus for us and for all those who have left us is well expressed in this beautiful poem: “To leave, as in a final migration, to close one’s eyes to be born anew, with the hope of finally finding peace, joy and the long-awaited answer to the purpose of life. We are always prepared to leave” as pilgrims in search of wonder and love, hope and eternity.

In Thetford Mines, I met Adrien, a mechanic to whom I entrusted my car. He died of cancer. He had left a letter to his family and friends: in a sense, his spiritual will. Its title was: The Essential.

Knowing that he had reached the end of his life, he concluded his letter as follows: “Little by little man gets rid of the unnecessary, ascends and grows, available toward the heights. I don’t know when we’ll have to embark upon the ultimate journey, but I’ve learned the essential. I found serenity and love. With these two large wings I feel light and capable of taking to the skies”.

Adrien had understood it: Death is just one step in this long pilgrimage to meet the Lord. We are saddened by the departure of those we love. But it is also an invitation to seek the essential, this happiness that is too often ignored: the happiness of loving and knowing that you are loved. Because to love is to live. To love is to make others live. To be loved and welcomed by God, is to live forever.

This is the way of hope traced by Jesus. True love leads from death to Life not only the one who loves, but also all those we love. Let us entrust our deceased to God our Father, who will welcome them in his love.

Father Jean-Pierre Aumont, CSC

Photo credit : Father Charron.