November is an interesting month. For one, it seems to be neither fall nor winter. The weather (especially this year) can be refreshingly warm or uncomfortably cold...in the same day. At the beginning of the month, we celebrate the Feast of All Saints (yay, saints!), only to be followed by All Souls (oh dang, people die, let's pray for them). Toward the end of the month we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, which, like the back to back feasts of All Saints and All Souls, evokes feelings of both joy and holy fear: we celebrate our great and glorious King and wait in tense anticipation of his coming. On the one hand, a feeling of relief: he rules, he's got this, the end. On the other hand, a feeling of suspense: he rules, I don't feel ready, the end is near.
This election cycle, I think, has had a similar tone. As Catholics, we feel the confidence in knowing that while political structures come and go, the Kingdom of God carries on with a victorious King. But at the same time, there is this unsettling feeling of everything coming crashing down. It's real. It's okay to acknowledge it. I feel it and I've had many conversations with others about it. It is a feeling common to Catholics - we are ever-waiting for that glorious yet terrible Day of Judgment - but one that never seems comfortably familiar. That's good, though. It reminds us that all things pass: summer, the leaves on the trees, kingdoms, this world, our very lives.
"Memento mori" - we "remember death" in November. It's not something we like to think about. But on a day such as this, we can find comfort in knowing that while voting is crucially important, we are citizens of a Kingdom that never ends.
Many of you will meet with a youth group on Wednesday night, and if not a youth group, youth at religious education classes. The election will come up. Regardless of the outcome, how do we use it as a teaching moment? Perhaps by a discussion on what it means to be Christian, and whence comes our hope. Bishop LeVoir's prayer intention this month is to pray for the souls in Purgatory. Let us dwell on the hope that Christ gives us, and also give hope to our brothers and sisters who have gone before us.