The Catholic church observes All Souls’ Day on 2 November every year. It is a day to commemorate all the faithful departed. The Church prays for departed souls to be cleansed, so that they may be able to see God face-to-face in heaven.
All Souls’ Day is a time for families to reflect on those loved ones who are no longer with us. We may face intense, difficult moments that trigger so much emotion, sadness, grief, emptiness, guilt, regret and anger at the death of our loved ones. As saying goes, “Take the bull by the horns,” we should take a deep breath amidst all our grieving, and pain, and face the situation with confidence in prayer. We remember that “indeed for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven.” (The Roman Missal)
During this month, we could perhaps do a few spiritual things as individuals or families, spiritually, as we relive fond memories and celebrate the lives of our loved ones.
i) Light up candles and offers prayers for deceased loved ones at home.
ii) Make a trip to the graves at least once during this month of November. Light candles. Place a bouquet of flowers and spend time praying a decade of the Rosary for them.
iii) As a family sit together to go through photos or albums or journals (if you have one) and share stories of their fond memories.
Over the years Christians throughout history and across cultures try to reflect the notion of what death and the resurrection are really about. Death is reality and Christ’s resurrection has made death a source of hope. Death gives a greater gift of life in Christ. The departed souls are alive in God. Even though “the souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God, no torment shall ever touch them,” (Wisdom 3:1), the Church teaches us to pray for them. Our prayers and Mass offerings, followed by other works of charity will help to speed up their journey to be in union with God in heaven.
During the month of October, we encouraged Parishioners to list down the names of our departed loved ones - our grandparents, parents, relatives, friends, and colleagues in the “Book of Remembrance” which was placed at the breakfast corner of our Community Hall. Since All Souls’ Day, we have placed this Book at the main altar of our Church and offer them collectively in our daily and weekend Masses till the Advent season begins on 27 November 2022.
They request our prayers and Masses in order for them to obtain eternal peace and rest. “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). We, Catholics believe in Purgatory, between heaven and earth where the sins of the departed souls are cleansed before entering the final and full vision of God. Purgatory is nothing other than the final purification of all the remaining attachments to sin in our lives.
Our prayers and Masses for the departed souls and all souls in purgatory will certainly need our prayers to obtain divine justice from God for them to have a full vision of His face. May the Souls of the Faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.