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Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake,

This week we have two important days. November 1st is All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation. We celebrate this day to remember that this is what all of us are called to—to be saints. It reorients our vision back on Heaven and gives us the encouragement of all of those who have gone before us and show us the way.

November 2nd is All Souls Day. This is the day where we remember all of our loved ones who have died and especially remember those who need our prayers in purgatory. Sadly, we have lost this sense that we have to pray for the dead, so this day is a powerful reminder to do so. I have always appreciated this explanation of purgatory from Msgr. Charles Pope, priest from the Archdiocese of Washington, DC:

“You know, honestly, is there anyone here carrying stuff with us we know we can’t take to heaven? I’m not just talking about our sins, I’m talking about our heartaches, our hurts, some of those regrets we might carry with us. We can’t take those things to heaven; it wouldn’t be heaven! And so, there is a beautiful line in the Book of Revelation that says of Jesus, regarding death, that He will wipe every tear from their eyes. (Rev 21:4) And this is part of what we call in the Catholic tradition the process of purgation. The Lord wipes the tears from our eyes: any sorrows, any regrets, any rough edges of our personality, those effects of sin that still cling to us. The Lord takes good care of it all…He wipes the tears and purifies us with holy fire.”

Let us pray well this month for all of our loved ones who have gone before that they might be brought swiftly into the home of Heaven. That if there was still any sin or pain still clinging to them that it might be set right.

Early in October we celebrated Safe Haven Sunday, a weekend meant to encourage us in making our homes real safe havens, protected against all that shouldn’t be there, especially the inappropriate things on the internet and social media. We need to be intentional in dealing with the media which is an indelible part of our modern world. I want to mention a few particular resources.

When it comes to filtering the internet and providing accountability, the leader of the pack is Covenant Eyes. The Diocese of Lansing partnered with them in this initiative. Another product is Ever Accountable. Through their software, many have found freedom from pornography use and grown in their digital health.

It is the very nature of media that it is addictive. A common refrain from people is how much time is wasted on their phones. We know how it goes—just one more short video, one more game, another look at the news, etc. It is very easy to waste a tremendous amount of our time that could be well spent in other ways—time with people, our families, jobs, time in prayer. One app I have found to be a help is called Stay Free. It keeps track of how many times you turn your phone on, what apps you open, and how much time overall you spend on your phone. Most of us don’t have any idea of what that amount would be. I must admit being scandalized at myself when I first put it on the phone about a year ago! But it has been a real help in making sure I control my media use and not the other way around. Let us strive for digital health.

God Bless,

Fr. Todd Koenigsknecht

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