Throughout this month we will recall the memories we have. The memories of our loved ones on All Souls’ Day; the memories of our heroes on All Saints’ Day; and the memory of the sacrifice and waste of war on Remembrance Sunday.
Our memory often sadly fails us – just when we need it most! However much we discover about the human mind we will never know why we remember certain things and others are lost. But bad memories, either as children or infants, will mark us with invisible scars which are almost impossible to eradicate. A child unwanted, neglected, hurt or abused will find it hard to be convinced that the world is generally a happy place. There will be times of success and joy but the early experience will mark the child always. The converse, of course, is equally true. A child who is well loved and protected from harm will surmount the inevitable setbacks which life may bring. This is one reason why our welcome to children during Mass and at other times is so very important. It is also why it is vital that all the children in our care are protected at all times.
Because we are working with children we must face the issues surrounding the abuse of children in whatever way it manifests itself. We who work with children need to be alert for signs of neglect or distress or disturbance in their lives. It is vital that the memories that children have of our care in this parish are safe and happy ones.
The ways in which our memories haunt us will always be a mystery – a sight, or sound will suddenly knock us down or exhilarate us. We need to honour the memories we have because without them we would not be what we are today. Our memories should be recognised for what they are – precious, if sometimes painful, gifts. Whether our memories are good or bad we are called upon as Christians to do something more. We are encouraged at all times and in all places to remember Jesus Christ. Our memories may be half full of dismay and loss, but in remembering Him, in making present at the Eucharist all that he did and does, we see that we are part of a continuing and transforming friendship in which all our memories have a part to play.