My schedule today meant that I was unable to attend Mass at my parish, and I wound up going to Mass at another nearby church for All Saints’ Day.

The Mass was celebrated simply — there was no music, there were no readers or extraordinary ministers, and no altar servers. It was just the priest and about 60 people in the congregation.

When he began his homily, the priest asked for a show of hands from anybody who woke up this morning excited about the Feast of All Saints. A few of us raised our hands, indulging the good humor of his opening line. He continued, saying, “You know, you should. Because today we are celebrating where we all hope we’ll be! That’s where we’ll all be reunited. Where we will all be free of pain and sadness. Where we will be made whole!”

It was at this moment when tears started streaming down my face and they continued like that for almost the entire Mass. For the last six years, ever since my dad died, my prayers have been more cerebral, more theological, more speculative. The focus has always been on November 2, on Purgatory, on praying for suffering souls. When mom died three years later. When my sister died a year and a half after that. When we lost a child to miscarriage a few months later.

Suffering souls — desperately, painfully scratching their way to heaven. Grief upon grief. Have I said enough prayers? Have I offered enough Masses? Am I being superstitious? Is this all for nothing? Why do I feel so broken?

The last few years have been hard: unemployment, vision loss, one death after another. I’m exhausted, my memory doesn’t work as well as it once did, I’m a sinner, I’m selfish. I have mountains of grief that I’ve yet to process.

But we aren’t made for sadness or for pain. We are made for heaven, and to be united as one with God and each other. We aren’t made to be broken, we are made to be whole.

This evening I was reminded of why I believe: because in my heart I have faith that God loves us. I believe that God wants us to be made whole. I believe that God will reunite my family once again in heaven. And that my wife and I and our four living children will finally meet our youngest child. I believe that by the grace of God, we may all be saints.

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Mike Lewis is the founding managing editor of Where Peter Is. He and Jeannie Gaffigan co-host Field Hospital, a U.S. Catholic podcast.

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