November is traditionally a month when the Church prays for those who have died.  While that is very valuable there is much more to loss, even to loss through death and family endings. Loss is inevitable in life and comes in many  forms; death, divorce, or in less traumatic ways, losing one’s ID document, cellphone, a lost opportunity to make up. All are emotional challenges. Psychologically and emotionally dealing with serious losses such as a death of a spouse, parent, grandparent, child, family member or other close friend is a process that takes time.   We may cope well or may be overwhelmed by grief, sadness and at times guilt.  In all cases families owe it to one another and beyond that to other families to offer care and support at times of loss.   Although the certainty of death saddens us, we are consoled by the promise of future immortality, for the life of those who believe in you Lord, is not ended but changed. Our loved ones are not lost in the shades of nothingness; hope assures us that they are in the good strong hands of God. AL 256. Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost for ever. LS33. The book of nature is one and indivisible and includes the environment, life sexuality, the family, social relations and so on. It follows that the deterioration of nature is closely connected to the culture which shapes human co-existence.  LS 6

Setting the Scene. The Church year is drawing to a close and this month it focuses on those who have died. Through group and family reflection and sharing, maybe setting up a family altar with mementoes of the losses, this is an opportunity to help families towards an acceptance and closure. In the secular world too with school exams and end-of-year feelings there is also a sense of closure. Acceptance and gratitude can go together. THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY this month are based on less well-known scripture books used in the daily liturgy. Romans, Wisdom, Maccabees and Daniel are not as well understood by many Catholics as the gospels. Luke’s gospel this month often has Jesus speaking of the things to come and the end times.  There are some explanatory notes about their history, purpose and style provided about these books on relevant days. Pope Francis’ quotations mainly from Amoris Laetitia  and Laudato Si, are particularly important as the Church is celebrating an AMORIS LAETITIA year which will end with the WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES in June 2022 and the focus on climate change and biodiversity with the launch of the LAUDATO SI ACTION PLATFORM  with families as the first sector for implementing its goals.