2 November – All Souls Day
Today we celebrate a feast in commemoration of the faithful departed in purgatory, that is, the faithful departed who have not yet been purified and reached Heaven. After Abbot Odilo of Cluny instituted it in the monasteries of his congregation in 998, other religious orders took up the observance, and it was adopted by various dioceses and gradually by the whole Church. The Office of the Dead must be recited by the clergy on this day and Pope Benedict XV granted to all priests the privilege of saying three Masses of requiem: one for the souls in purgatory, one for the intention of the Holy Father, one for the priest’s.
– Patron Saints Index
On this mountain,
the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples
a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines,
of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines.
On this mountain he will remove
the mourning veil covering all peoples,
and the shroud enwrapping all nations,
he will destroy Death for ever.
The Lord will wipe away
the tears from every cheek;
he will take away his people’s shame
everywhere on earth,
for the Lord has said so.
That day, it will be said: See, this is our God
in whom we hoped for salvation;
the Lord is the one in whom we hoped.
Hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us. We were still helpless when at his appointed moment Christ died for sinful men. It is not easy to die even for a good man – though of course for someone really worthy, a man might be prepared to die – but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Having died to make us righteous, is it likely that he would now fail to save us from God’s anger? When we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we were still enemies; now that we have been reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son? Not merely because we have been reconciled but because we are filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.
Jesus went to a town called Nain, accompanied by his disciples and a great number of people. When he was near the gate of the town it happened that a dead man was being carried out for burial, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a considerable number of the townspeople were with her. When the Lord saw her he felt sorry for her. ‘Do not cry’ he said. Then he went up and put his hand on the bier and the bearers stood still, and he said, ‘Young man, I tell you to get up.’ And the dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Everyone was filled with awe and praised God saying, ‘A great prophet has appeared among us; God has visited his people.’ And this opinion of him spread throughout Judaea and all over the countryside.
Hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us
Yesterday, we celebrated All Saints Day, where we commemorated people who are in the Church Triumphant and the Church Militant. Today, we take time to pause for those who are in the Church Suffering. Today’s celebration is a celebration of life and, in particular, of how the lives of the people who have passed away have inspired us to continue to live a life worthy of following.
Funeral masses tend to be sad and if we observe carefully, the readings for today are all from the readings used in funeral masses. The readings give us hope. They remind us of the importance of being close to God and that God is with us. This is important for each one of us as we continue with our lives. Our lives are temporary in this world and what we are called to do is to make it meaningful for the people around us by sharing with them the joy of knowing Christ. Our relationship with Christ is the witness to the people around us through the behaviours and actions we carry out.
All Souls’ Day is a day where we reflect on the people who have gone before us and identify what is it within them which makes us see good behaviour in them. Have they espoused the meaning of the Beatitudes in their lives and if so, how can we allow these values to manifest in the world around us. Let us spend time today to pause and ask the Lord to grant us the grace of discernment to live a life worthy of others to follow.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for all the souls whom have gone before us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who seek you with a sincere heart.