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 Saint Index
The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God,
no torment shall ever touch them.
In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die,
their going looked like a disaster,
their leaving us, like annihilation;
but they are in peace.
If they experienced punishment as men see it,
their hope was rich with immortality;
slight was their affliction, great will their blessings be.
God has put them to the test
and proved them worthy to be with him;
he has tested them like gold in a furnace,
and accepted them as a holocaust.
When the time comes for his visitation they will shine out;
as sparks run through the stubble, so will they.
They shall judge nations, rule over peoples,
and the Lord will be their king for ever.
They who trust in him will understand the truth,
those who are faithful will live with him in love;
for grace and mercy await those he has chosen.
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.
A dead man was being carried out for burial, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow
During this time, cemeteries in our country are jam-packed. It is customary to visit the graves of our departed love ones during this time. We were not used to do that. The graves of our relatives are either abroad or islands away. It is only this year that we get to go to the cemetery in a frequent basis. My dad passed away early this year. We are already starting to move on but there were still times that I forget that he was already gone.
I remember him as always fond of giving “funny” remarks which we find not funny at all. Often times he would find humour to everything. We will just laugh not at his jokes but on how he delivers his jokes. Whenever he realizes that we cannot understand his jokes, he would say that those are just for smart people.
Our departed loved ones may not be here physically anymore. But they will always remain in our hearts.
Death is not farewell, but a beginning of eternity. Quoting First Thessalonians Chapter 4 verse 14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”
Today, All Souls’ Day, we honour all our departed friends and relatives. We pray that they all rest in peace in the arms of our God the Father.
(Today’s Oxygen by Beryl Baterina)
Prayer: Dear God, we pray for all the souls that have gone ahead of us. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Father God, thank you for the gift of life and the promise of eternal life. Amen.