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
… now that we have been reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of His Son?
I admit that I used to have a fear of death. It may be scary for some people to think about what would happen after death – would they see a bright light, or pitch-black darkness? For many saints, they see death as an entrance into eternal life. But for me, I was afraid of the irreversibility of death; I used to think that death would be a point of no return, there was no other way I could turn back time to fix whatever mistakes that I had made.
But today’s readings bring me a sense of hope and optimism. As we have already been reconciled to Jesus, if we continue to be faithful to Him and be good Catholics, more than half of the battle would have been won already. Plus, we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation to reconcile ourselves with God and be put right with Him; so we are given many chances over time to repent of our sins and strive to lead holier lives.
It is very easy in today’s world to be blinded by modern cultural trends that perceive God as a controlling and authoritarian judge. I used to think in this manner too, but I have realised through time spent with God in prayers, at Mass and at confession, that God is very forgiving loving and merciful. He is always willing to forgive us, and to welcome us back in His loving embrace.
If God were truly a tyrannical dictator, He would punish us for every single mistake we make. Thankfully, nowadays, we do not drop dead or get sent straight to Hell immediately if we make a mistake or commit a sin! The only Biblical exception that I can recall was when Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles; but even then, he could have sought the Holy Spirit’s forgiveness and repented when Saint Peter interrogated him, but he did not. While our souls may need to be purified in purgatory, this is not a punishment but refinement of our souls, so that we can be reunited with God as pure souls.
So, from today onwards, I will see death as the gateway for me to be purified of my sins, and for me to see God, Our Lady and all our saints with my own eyes. What bliss will that moment be!
(Today’s OXYGEN by Brenda Khoo)
Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us to always be mindful that we are mortal beings and we will die one day. Help us to welcome death as a chance to see You in person after our life on earth. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, thank You for being loving and merciful with us, and for reconciling us with Your Son when He died on the cross for us. Thank you for always giving us the chance to repent and be put right with You, so that when we see You, we may be pure in body, spirit and soul. Amen.