“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1). Today is the feast of All Souls. We are surrounded by the great cloud of faithful people who have gone before us. They are witnesses to living a godly life and an inspiring example. Some of these witnesses are of special interest to us today. Millions suffered and died during the historic pandemics that swept the world, such as the Black Death, the Plague and Spanish Flu. They knew bottomless fear and grief as entire cities were decimated. However, they courageously cared for the sick and buried the dead and never lost faith in God’s providence. Others lived through terrible periods of warfare, civic disaster, and grinding poverty. However, they performed heroic deeds of leadership and generosity. This scripture tells us to throw off sinful and selfish attitudes and to persevere, bearing witness to the life of faith we are now living.
By Mary Jackle, OSB