Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls), November 2
It is Fitting and Just to Pray for the Compassionate Love of God upon All Those Who Have Died and Gone Before Us, Remembering that We Are All God’s Children and in Need of His Divine Mercy.
“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life…”
Yesterday, we celebrated the Solemnity of All Saints, in which we recognized all those who have left this life in God’s friendship and now stand in His Most Holy Presence, giving Him honor and glory eternally – the Church Triumphant.
Today, we commemorate, in a special way, the souls of all those who have gone before us, some who have touched our own lives in a deeply personal and intimate way – all of whom we pray are enjoying the eternal peace and happiness which awaits each of us, as God’s greatest gift for all who have embraced His Love in their lives.
Most of us have had or will have, sooner or later, the experience of watching a loved one move through his or her final days, and then pass from this life. It can be a tremendously sad process for those who are about to be left behind and who know in advance the loneliness that will be theirs.
But, in most cases, there is also a marvelous and touching aspect of this process as well – watching our dying loved one or friend begin the process of progressively letting go of all those things that no longer matter anymore – old grievances, fears, doubts, and so much more. For they begin to realize that the only feeling which truly matters in the realm of the Eternal is the love which they take with them.
In the best of circumstances, we were created out of love; we were born into love; we were raised with love; and we end up leaving this life holding onto love. It can be a grace even for the bystanders to watch this process unfold.
And it gives us pause to consider those issues in our own lives – issues which have no lasting significance and only serve to take away our own peace and happiness. Yet, for most of us, including many of those who have gone before us, we leave this life with at least a little bit of unfinished business and a bit of “left-over baggage”.
And that is why our faith teaches us that it is fitting and just to pray for God’s compassionate Mercy for the dead, for our love is stronger than death, and it reaches across time and eternity to bind us together.
As you and I reflect today upon all those who have gone before us, we should remember that our prayers can benefit one another. Whether we are praying for someone we know here and now or someone who has already died, God hears us. And surely it pleases our Most Loving Father in Heaven to see His children caring for one another!
For God is always ready and waiting to welcome into His Home even those who are in need of that final spiritual cleansing which makes us whole and spotless in the Eyes of God. Our prayers, which we offer up to God for our deceased loved ones, petition God that He will shower them with His Divine Mercy – asking God to help them let go of what remains of their “old baggage” and guide them towards finishing what is unfinished in them.
Even though the word Purgatory does not exist in the Bible – for there are many terms we have used throughout the centuries, such as the Blessed Trinity, which have no corresponding phrase or words in Sacred Scripture – it is a place about which our enlightenment and development of our understanding in God’s Truth has evolved for more than two thousand years, through the workings of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of His children, beginning with a spiritual awareness which we even find in some of the writers of the Old Testament.
Purgatory is that place where the immeasurable fairness of God’s Justice is manifested; but, more importantly, it is a place where His Infinite Love and Mercy is truly experienced at its greatest for His children.
For Purgatory is simply the place where already saved souls are purged or cleansed of the temporal effects of sin, before they are allowed to see the Holy Face of Almighty God. For, as the Book of Revelation tells us, “…nothing unclean will enter [Heaven].”
We read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.” (CCC, § 1030)
And for those who find themselves in that final process of spiritual purification and whose hearts are filled with love and trust in our Merciful Lord, this process will come naturally for them – to open their hearts and to invite the Loving Presence of God within themselves.
For those whose hearts are more ambivalent and in the habit of withholding trust, more effort will be necessary and more prayers will be needed on our part, for our prayers are truly most efficacious for these dear souls who await the glory of eternally beholding and contemplating the Beatific Vision of the One Eternal God.
This process of letting go, this process of truly trusting in Divine Love Himself, is that final step of spiritual purification, a step which changes us into a pure and spotless child of God – a child whose only desire it is to stand in the Presence of the Father of all Mercies, whose only desire it is to embrace the Eternal Son who gave His Life so that you and I might have life, and whose only desire it is to be surrounded and embraced by the Eternal Light of the Spirit of Love Himself.
As a loving people, it is a completely natural process that we grieve the loss of a loved one from this life. But as faithful Christians, we know that this separation is but a temporary one!
And, when it is finally our time to be called from our life here on this side of the eternal, when we ourselves have completed that final step, we too shall be welcomed and embraced not only by God Himself, but also by all those whom we have loved and who have preceded us, and who have left this life in the friendship of Almighty God.
And for all those who truly embrace the Love which God has for us in this life, He will most assuredly raise us up with Him for an eternity of peace and happiness – where there is no pain, where every tear shall be wiped away, where Eternal Love truly becomes one within each of us!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” (John 6:40)
- “The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them…Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself.” (Wisdom 3:1, 5)
- “But evils surround me until they cannot be counted. My sins overtake me, so that I can no longer see. They are more numerous than the hairs of my head; my courage fails me. LORD, graciously rescue me! Come quickly to help me, LORD! …Though I am afflicted and poor, my Lord keeps me in mind. You are my help and deliverer; my God, do not delay!” (Psalm 40:13-14, 18)
- “Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my iniquities. A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit. Do not drive me from your face, nor take from me your holy spirit. Restore to me the gladness of your salvation; uphold me with a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:11-14)
- “But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead, that they might be absolved from their sin.” (2 Maccabees 12:45-46)
- “No, you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect.” (Hebrews 12:22-23)
- “I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb. The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb…The treasure and wealth of the nations will be brought there, but nothing unclean will enter it…” (Revelation 21:22-23, 26-27a)
- We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)
- “‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’…But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55, 57)
- “They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them. For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:16-17)
Prayer for the Day
“God, our Creator and Redeemer,
by Your power Christ conquered death
and returned to You in glory.
“May all Your children who have gone before us in faithRoman Breviary, Office of the Dead
share His victory and enjoy the vision of Your Glory forever;
where Christ lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
“May the Divine Assistance remain always with us,Prayer for the Deceased
and may the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the Divine Mercy of Almighty God,
rest in eternal peace. Amen.”