Nov 2 – 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
“Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.”
Today we celebrate All Soul’s Day, something that I can’t exactly comprehend. How will it be like when I die and my soul still lives on? Will I be aware? Will I remember everything I have learnt from my time alive? Are those that have gone before able to watch me here on earth? How will a soul react/respond when we pray for it?
Sometimes, thinking about what will happen to my soul when I pass on from this earth, seems so distant and unimaginable that I do not think too much about it; but yet, when I happen to think of it, there’s a layer of remorse and regret that comes over me because I am reminded of the sins I’ve committed and how ‘dirty’ my soul seems to be, unworthy of heaven.
In today’s readings, God affirms us, as in the first reading that, “those who trust in him will understand truth, those who are faithful will live with him in love; for grace and mercy await his holy ones”; in the second reading, where he is, “a hope that which will not let us down, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” and in the Gospel, where God invites us to share in His suffering and His love.
Indeed, All Soul’s Day isn’t simply remembering and praying for those who have gone before us, but for us to be reminded of our own souls. It is simply too late to wait till our final moments before we begin nurturing our souls. Already it is usually a struggle for me to make time for the sacrament of reconciliation and now, being in this situation, I just have a better excuse not to find time to go even more.
I was having a conversation with my Mum and she reminded me how we serve God, not to guarantee ourselves a place or ensure reward in heaven, but there’s really nothing we can do here on earth that can merit our place in heaven, except through the grace and mercy of Christ. Our actions then shouldn’t be because we want to earn brownie points but because we have already ‘tasted’ the love, grace and mercy of our Father, and it’s simply our response.
As we pray for the souls of all our faithful departed, we too want to pray for our own souls, for our lives are not just to prepare us for heaven but to share heaven here on earth, to be Christ to others. For in Christ alone, will our souls find rest.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)
Prayer: Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for constantly reaching out to us and inviting us to share in your glory and your love. Thank you for your love, grace and mercy.