REMEMBERING ≠ NOSTALGIC REMINISCING
REMEMBERING = STAYING JOINED TO THE COMMUNITY
The interesting thing about all this is that I was not just running these things through my mind, I was actually living them as the air ran into and through my “open-air” ride. I wasn’t just reminiscing, I was uniting myself with the reality that I and others had lived before today. I was re-membering. I was back in community with the realities, mechanical, environmental, social, emotional and communitarian. Yes, I was in a specific community again. Not just yearning for myself, but sharing the spirituality of the experiences in a mystical way with the other humans who had lived the same truths and who are presently still aware of them at some level.
I am not very fond of playing word tricks with myself and with other people, but lately the “member” part of “remembering” is making sense to me. It is bringing me into an understanding of the human community of which we are all members. It is also bringing me into a deeper understanding of the community not only of the living but of the unity that continues between us, the living and those who have died and “gone on” before us. The nature of this remembering is familiar to Catholics who designate the month of November as the month of the “Dearly Departed.” In the Catholic world, the soul is eternal and it is perfectly singular, never to be repeated in its individuality. This is what is meant by the word “ineffable.” Therefore, a part of Catholic life is the continuation of a spiritual connection between all members of the human community. That is why Catholics continue to intercede for and in fact, in some instances, ask for intercessory prayers from the individuals who have died but who remain members of the “Communion of Saints,” the community of all souls.
Catholics get this conviction from the Israelites and the Hebrews who had, and still have, a powerful belief in the “member” part of remember. The Passover celebration is all remembering. The prayers are full of remembering. The Psalms are pregnant with remembering. The Gospels are constantly reminding us of the forebears of Jesus. We are never allowed to forget that this is the son of David. We are not even allowed to forget the Passover. Every time we celebrate the Eucharist we are told, “Do this in memory of me.”
None of this is very far from our everyday lives. No matter whom we are. No matter what our roots are. No matter what our spiritual convictions are. Without a deep appreciation for remembering, we are incomplete. What normal human being goes through life without remembering birthdays, wedding days, death anniversaries of mother, father, siblings, graduation anniversaries, major surgeries??? The list goes on. Remembering is our connection with human beings. It is the glue of our unity as a race. It is also the fundamentally solid and deepest reason why not a single one of you should even dare to cry at my funeral.