All Saints Day 2007


There they go again, off in droves to the cemeteries on All Saints Day, not tomorrow, All Soul’s Day… But I have written about this before. I just wanted to put this quick post to say have a good holiday, and I wish your departed ancestors move up on the proverbial waitlist to heaven. I have always thought it illogical that remaining descendants would pray more avidly for wicked ancestors than for good ones…it just seems highly improbable. Not to mention my utter shock at discovering some people actually leave money so that masses can be purchased for their souls when they have already departed…trust me, there are people like that. Let’s just say I pray much more for ancestors I liked or miss dearly rather than the ones I wasn’t too fond of. And oh my gosh, what now that the Pope has obliterated the idea of purgatory? I leave you with this photo of one of my mom’s favorite depictions of the Virgin Mary, done from an entire elephant tusk (yes, I know, ivory is totally un-PC and I would never buy anything made with ivory today). If you turn the piece over, you realize that an elephant tusk is hollow, with a thickish wall of ivory…so artisans had to be extremely careful when working with a tusk so as not to puncture it (and the biggest solid piece of ivory is near the end of the tusk, hence the face is carved out of that area)… This piece belonged to my grandmother before she gave it to my mom. Both of them definitely had business class seats up to heaven. :)


18 Responses

  1. My husband had it also observed with tongue-in-cheek that visiting the departed on All Saints’ Day is wish fulfillment.
    Your info about tusks made into santos is quite interesting! Thank you! I was also raised into constantly lighting candles and praying for departed souls (no specific occasion), whether they be of our relations or not. Sincere prayers have a true and potent energy for transformation…you never really know the how and when they manifest until they actually do! :-)

  2. Both of them definitely had business class seats up to heaven. :).. least you make me laugh!!! am here in florida.. 24 years I have not done all saints day all souls day you know visiting everyone graves.

  3. i miss the reunions my family used to have the weekend before all soul’s (heehee. in order to beat all the traffic, we usually had an anticipated celebration). lots of food, reminisces, collecting balls of candle wax that you never really knew what to do with, and the best part … ghost stories! ahhaha! why do we like to scare ourselves silly?

    leaving money for masses and prayers seems a throwback to the times when people actively bought indulgences. hahaha!

  4. MM, I know that your grandmother had a lot of antiques. Do you still have them? I also want an ivory statue.

  5. I spent over twenty years in Japan and found that the souls of their dead visit the live relatives. I think that is pretty neat. So, the parties are at home and you don’t have to trudge to the cemeteries.

  6. We used to burn paper money for our dearly departed. Up to now, I still wonder if the burnt money-turned-ashes reform up in the hereafter and whether they go to the right person? :)

  7. Business class only? How about a private jet? No more limbo and no more purgatory so everyone has to stand on their own merits, no amount of indulgences pruchased or extra prayers are going to be much help…

  8. My family is poor so purchased indulgences or elaborate funerals to ensure a business class for me when I die is out of the question. My life is not blameless either so standing on my own merits is out the window as well. But I am blessed that Jesus bore all my sins and died on the cross for me and for those who believe that by grace we have been saved, not by works, so no one can boast…says the bible.

  9. that is a beautiful ivory santo! -sure to fetch a good sum in the antique markets anywhere in the world.
    treasure it . . . and pass it on to the kid.

    business class ticket to heaven –you make us laugh! you are delightfully irreverent.

  10. ,,,hahaha! its either a business class seat or a joy ride..or the long walk…every one has chooses to make…up or down but not sideways…!

  11. Hi MM. The existence of Purgatory has NOT been denied or questioned by the Pope. It is the question of the existence of Limbo which the Pope has said that needs to be studied. The existence of Purgatory is already a Church dogma and therefore its denial by any Catholic, much more by a Pope, is heresy. But getting back to more mundane things, yes the ivory piece that you have of the Blessed Virgin is truly beautiful. Have a happy long weekend MM!

  12. That santo is an art-piece.. I also collect mini figurines made of tusk.. I know, I know, but they give the piece a more interesting touch..

  13. Greetings of Peace and Joy in the Lord, MM! I just wanted to say something on the subject of Purgatory and the papacy. The teaching of Purgatory has not been “obliterated” by any pope.
    In fact, at the General Audience of Wednesday, 4 August 1999, following his catecheses on heaven and hell, the late Holy Father John Paul II reflected on Purgatory. He explained that “the term purgatory does not indicate a place, but a condition of existence”, where Christ “removes … the remnants of imperfection”. Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him.
    “Incorporeal things are not in place after a manner known and familiar to us, in which way we say that bodies are properly in place; but they are in place after a manner befitting spiritual substances, a manner that cannot be fully manifest to us.” [St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae]

  14. Hi everyone, oops. Limbo it is. I always thought of that as the dance. But that is just me. At least most of you see the humor… I was off for three days. Didn’t check my site and hope you all had a good long holiday! :)

  15. I’ve stopped Catholic schooling long ago, and the discussion made me realize that I may have missed a lot in continuing Catholic education. I didn’t know about limbo being obsolete. It makes me wonder if I haven’t been picking this up in mass celebrations or if SUnday mass is the avenue for this.

    Imagine my horror when I discovered that Pluto’s gasses have dispersed and is no longer a “technical” planet. Whatever will happen to the mnemonic, “My very eager mother just served us nine papayas.” No more papayas!

    I also recall that during my elementary days, the mnemonic was, “My very eager mother just served us papayas nine,” allegedly because Pluto and Neptune have crossed orbits and Pluto was actually closer to the sun at that time. (Ack! Does anyone remember this? Or was this true?)



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