ALL SAINTS AND ALL SOULS
With these two greats feasts we hear many of the readings we choose when we arrange requiem masses and funeral ceremonies for our loved ones. We decided to celebrate both feasts this weekend. All Saints on Saturday night and All Souls on Sunday.
Both feasts have everything to do with heaven, with the fulfilment of our hope that when we close our eyes and die to this way of existing, we shall open them again to see the face of God, who has always loved us and maintained us in existence.
All Saints focuses our attention on all those who are now with God enjoying the beatific vision. In his letters to the early churches, St Paul often addressed them as the saints in this or that location. At baptism we were gifted with the spirit of holiness and wholeness and then allow that spirit to shape our thoughts, worlds and actions. The feast of All Saints is a time to rejoice with all those who are now enjoying God’s presence. Not just those who are recognised by the church and are remembered in stain glass windows and statues, but all the others, family members and friends, who have died completely at one with God. They are now part of the communion of saints and now pray for us to stay close to Christ, be great disciples and in due time join them.
The feast of All Souls celebrates all those who have died who may still be in need of our prayerful care. The scriptures teach us that is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins. This is one of passages that informed the ongoing practice of the Church from the beginning that praying for those who died was worthwhile and from which emerged teaching on Purgatory. Some discard this teaching too easily. Those souls in purgatory are with God! They have not missed out. What is happening to them is referred to as purging not unlike what we know from cleansing diets where we act to purge our systems of harmful toxins and the like to come to excellent health. Those in purgatory are experiencing something like this. They are with God but are painfully aware of growth that is still needed to enjoy the divine presence fully. When we pray for them we are like attentive and caring nurses giving all the assistance we can so they enjoy God’s presence to the fullest.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Nov 5, 2014||All Saints and all Souls 02.11.2014||Listen||Download|