This is a perfect day to visit the tombs of our departed family and friends, tidy them up if necessary, and spend time remembering them. In Mexican culture, it is common to celebrate their memory through their favorite foods, activities, and reflecting upon their best memories. We know that death does not destroy them, and we can still be connected through the communion of saints.
Catholic Symbolism and Mortality
While fascination with skulls may look morbid, it has been a popular symbol in the Christian tradition (especially in the Franciscan tradition) and is there to remind us of our inescapable mortality. We cannot be afraid of death, for we know we will all face it some day, and we know that our faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can grant us eternal life.
I once visited a famous Capuchin Franciscan chapel in Rome that features colossal designs, patterns, and structures built out of the real bones of approximately 5,000 dead Franciscan brothers. It may seem scandalous to the feint of heart, but its message is powerful and surprisingly beautiful. The final sign reminds you “What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be."
Remember to pray for your loved ones this upcoming All Souls Day, and speak boldly of the incomparable reality that heaven is a much better reality than any fairy tales. Death, be not proud.
Cristobal Almanza is a Catholic artist and designer living in Austin, Texas. He serves as a high school catechist and retreat coordinator, and is committed to promoting the beauty of Truth through education and art. He is President and Co-Founder of ACNM, Austin Catholic New Media. This article originally appeared on ACNM’s blog and is reprinted here with permission.