“The accidents of life separate us from our dearest friends; but let us not despond. God is like a looking-glass in which souls see each other. The more we are united to him by love, the nearer we are to those who belong to him.” – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, from Elizabeth Bayley Seton, Collected Writings, Volume 3b, 42
This month we remember and celebrate our beloved deceased. We declare our belief in this communion of saints and souls every time we pray the Creed.
Fifty years after St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s death, Lewis Carroll published the novel, Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. Alice climbs through a mirror into a world beyond. Elizabeth’s words suggest she too saw a world beyond, a reunion in heaven for which she yearned.
When Elizabeth drew near to God, and attuned herself to God’s outpouring of love, she drew near to those souls dearest to her. The love which shaped and fashioned her, sustained her beyond loss and death. Through the God of the Looking-glass, Elizabeth’s beloved felt as close as a reflection in the mirror. That’s close.
The quotes below resonate with Elizabeth’s words and describe just how connected we are in life and in death:
“We become who we love and what we love. I see that what the other is, is some of my life energy living there. I see what I am, and I am some of the other’s life energy living here in me…”
“All of those who have gone before us — and with all those who brought you here – they live in you. You brought them here. Everyone who lives in you is here. Everybody, Msgr. Romero, my mom and dad, Elizabeth Seton… I am a world of people… I am you and you are me.” – Peggy O’Neill, SC (NJ ), “Love is the Answer” (pdf)
“I am what I am because I am immersed in other people’s stories and the stories of my time.” – Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle
“I believe the Blesseds in heaven have great compassion for our miseries… They remember that when they were mortal like us,…they went through the same struggles, and their fraternal tenderness becomes still greater than it ever was on earth. It’s on account of this that they never stop watching over us and praying for us.” – St. Therese of Lisieux
“Those whom we love and lose are no longer where they were before. They are now wherever we are.” – St. John Chrysostom
– Catherine Salani (SC collaborator, educator, artist)