November Reminds Us of Who We Are in the Context of Eternity
By Bishop David J. Malloy
This month of November is an annual spiritual reminder of great importance in our Catholic faith. It is the concluding month of the liturgical year. As such the Church has traditionally used this month to remind us of who we are in a context of time and eternity.
We began this month with the linked celebrations of the Feast of All Saints and the Feast of All Souls. I call them linked because they are bound together by the reality of death.
In celebrating all the saints, the faithful venerate all of those Apostles, martyrs, virgins, confessors, pastors, and holy men and women that we are so familiar with because the Church has recognized their holiness lived in this world. 
At the same time, we stop to reflect that there are many more who are truly saints with God, but whom the Church has not formally recognized. Many quietly holy people have been faithful until death throughout the centuries.
Whether canonized or not, we rejoice in all the saints. We honor them. And on All Saints Day and throughout the year we ask for their prayers and intercession.
On the following day, Nov. 2, we honored the holy souls in purgatory. We remember to pray for them, especially for those who are members of our own family. 
We do so because our Catholic faith tells us that God who is infinitely good and holy cannot have in His presence and in His kingdom any hint or trace of what is sinful and therefore contrary to His love. 
Since even the best of us will die marked by at least some of the residual effects of our sins, the teaching of purgatory means that God allows for the final and full purification of those who have died in the state of His grace. 
And even more, God allows for us, the living, to assist and hasten the purification of the souls in purgatory by our prayers and sacrifices.
What a consolation it is to know that we can continue to assist our loved ones even after their passing, and that others can likewise hasten our journey to God when our own time comes.
Throughout this month of November, the readings at Sunday Mass also focus on death. They remind us of the end of the world when Christ will come again, all of creation will be summed up, and we and all of reality will stand before the loving and just judge.
We must not fall into the trap of saying that all of these thoughts which are joined by the reality of death are simply negative and fearful descriptions. Rather, they are reminders to us of the reality in which we exist.
None of us can escape death. Neither did the saints or the holy souls. But their continued existence is a deep call to hope. 
Death does not obliterate us. We are free from the sort of pessimism and hopelessness that would be the case if life begins and ends with us. Instead, we are called to eternal life in heaven.
Of course, we live in a world still marked by sin. In faith, we know that we will give an accounting of our lives. 
If we have lived in sin by failing to love God and to repent of our evil, our eternity will still continue. But we will know the unending reality of hell.
Life now is that one chance, aided by God’s grace, to reach the end for which we were called into existence — that is to be transformed, body and soul, into the glory of joining all the saints.
It is possible to get lost in this world. It is all too easy to lose our focus on holiness and fall into sin. How good the Church is to give us even a “tough love” reminder each November. 
Heaven is an offer for each of us. But we must use this time to get ready, and, with God’s grace, to seize the opportunity with a life of love and holiness.