Those (Souls) You’ve Known

When I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I didn’t cry until Fred died, and then I started sobbing.  (Many apologies, confused people who were on that plane with me!).  After I was finished, I was at loose ends, not sure what to do next.  And I ended up listening to “Those You’ve Known” from Spring Awakening on repeat.  As in Deathly Hallows, the protagonist is comforted and led by the spectral presence of deceased characters.

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It’s come back into my head today, on the Feast of All Souls.

Those you’ve known
And lost, still walk behind you
All alone
They linger till they find you

Without them
The world grows dark around you
And nothing is the same until you know that they have found you

Those you’ve pained
May carry that still with them
All the same
They whisper: “All forgiven.”

One thing that’s especially nice in the context of the musical is that this song picks up some of the melody and motifs from “All That’s Known” in the beginning of the show, which is a much more isolated song (all the pronouns are ‘I’ and ‘you’ and they’re set in irreconcilable opposition).  By the end of the show, the protagonist hasn’t just grown up and out of his community (though, since it’s a poisonous one, we’re glad he’s done that); he’s found some kind of community and obligation to others.

– — –

But if you like your All Saints and All Souls posts to be a little less musical and a little more non-fictional verging on fictional, may I point you to this story via DarwinCatholic?

So now the Church had feasts for all those in heaven and all those in purgatory? What about those in the other place? It seems Irish Catholic peasants wondered about the unfortunate souls in hell. After all, if the souls in hell are left out when we celebrate those in heaven and purgatory, they might be unhappy enough to cause trouble. So it became customary to bang pots and pans on All Hallows Even to let the damned know they were not forgotten. Thus, in Ireland, at least, all the dead came to be remembered — even if the clergy were not terribly sympathetic to Halloween and never allowed All Damned Day into the Church calendar.

About Leah Libresco

Leah Anthony Libresco graduated from Yale in 2011. She works as an Editorial Assistant at The American Conservative by day, and by night writes for Patheos about theology, philosophy, and math at www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked. She was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012."

  • http://www.lesswrong.com/user/MBlume Mike

    I’ve never heard the song, so I couldn’t help reading the lyrics to the tune of “On My Own” from Les Mis.

    • http://delphipsmith.livejournal.com Delphi Psmith

      You’re right, the tune is a perfect fit. How odd!

  • http://egregioustwaddle.blogspot.com/ Joanne K McPortland

    Leah! Spring Awakening is sooooo perfect for All Souls’ Day! I’ve been wanting to blog on the show since I saw it performed live for the first time here in Dayton last winter. Not necessarily the first show that comes to mind when thinking Catholic liturgy—unless one has a sommelier like you, who’s not afraid to pair a spicy German Spatburgunder with a bit of snappy mackerel!

  • J. H. M. Ortiz

    On the subject of “the damned”, I reckon it to be settled Catholic teaching that any person in hell will never be raised to the state of grace, still less to beatific vision. So does the prominent 20th-century Catholic essayist Jacques Maritain. But in his essay (in the posthumously published book Approches sans Entraves) “Idées Eschatologiques”, Maritain defends the thesis that it is permissible to hope that, BY MIRACLE, the reprobate will be converted — without being raised to the state of grace — from being morally evil to being morally upright, thereafter humbly yet nobly accepting everlasting deprivation from glory as just, and thanking God for this unasked-for pardon, one rendering the reprobate (“à la fois réprouvé et pardonné”) able to experience some joys of the natural order (science, art, friendship, etc.).
    I find it significant that one Jean-Hervé Nicolas, O.P., even though disagreeing with this view of Maritain’s, has admitted that it’s not opposed to Catholic teaching.
    (Untrammeled Approaches is the title of the book’s English translation.)

  • jenesaispas

    ‘All Hallows Eve and All Souls Day with the trick-or-treating-like customs from England which had evolved around Guy Fawkes Day’

    Didn’t know that!

  • Gary Keith Chesterton

    FRED DIES?!?

    • jenesaispas

      “Ah, Gary, I don’ know if I’m the right person ter tell yeh — but someone’s gotta –” yes Fred dies…

  • http://www.jrganymede.com Adam G.

    They’re they stood, ranged along the hillside, met
    to the view the last of me, a living frame
    for one more picture! In a sheet of flame
    I saw them and I knew them all.