Saturday, February 07, 2009

Anniversary of Deceased Parents

According to the Dominican Calendar, today is the Anniversarium Patrum et Matrum Defunctorum: the Anniversary of Deceased Parents. As such, then, Dominicans observe a day of prayer for our deceased parents. From the Dominican Ordo:
In this celebration we remember our parents who have preceded us with the sign of faith and rest in peace. The Dominican Family joins together to honor our deceased parents with the same affection we showed them in life, for in Christ they gave us birth and from the crib they showed us what it means to be followers of Christ.
I would probably include grandparents in the group. I would suggest we take some pause to reflect on our parents today, living and deceased, and thank God for them. While the Calendar marks this with a special day of remembrance, certainly we are not to be discouraged from remembering them each and every day.

In the Office of Readings today (Dominican supplement), St. Catherine of Siena cries out in a letter to her mother:
Mater mea carissima in Christo dulci Iesu!
My dearest mother in Christ, sweet Jesus! She continues:
Your unworthy and abject daughter Catherine consoles you in the precious blood of the Son of God. I have greatly desired to consider you the true mother, not only of my body but also of my soul. For you know that, if you have loved my soul more than my body, all untoward love in you will die and my bodily absence will be no great burden for you. Rather it will be a joy and you will wish to bear all difficulties for the honor of God, with the intention that God may be honored. The honor of God is the increase of grace and virtue in my soul. Thus you, my sweetest mother, who love my soul more than my body, may be filled with joy and not be left desolate.
Catherine then brings to her mother the example of Mary:
I wish that you may learn from sweet mother Mary, who for the honor of God and the salvation of us all, gave us her Son who died on the wood of the most holy cross. Only Mary remained behind with the holy disciples after Christ’s ascension into heaven. Don’t you think that to have lived together would have brought great consolation to Mary and the disciples, while their departure brought grief? Nevertheless, for the praise and glory of her Son and for the salvation of all, she permits and wills that they should leave her. She chooses rather the burden of their departure than the consolation of their presence, so moved is she by the love of God’s honor and of the salvation of our souls.
Catherine ends her letter with an exhortation:
Abide in the holy and sweet love of God. Sweet Jesus, Jesus love!
Let us learn from that example.

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