Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary His Most Holy Mother! In many ways the Church’s Year of Grace reflects the calendar year. As we know, we are in perhaps one of the most beautiful times of the year. The trees change color, there is a freshness in the wind, and the night sky shines with brilliant stars. In the natural order it is the dying of the year. The year is not yet dead as it would be let’s say in January, when the snow covers our yards and streets. It is the dying of the year. Each day more and more leaves fall from the trees, just as each day souls fall into eternity. One day that leaf will be you and I.
It is no wonder then that in November the Church directs our attention to that dramatic moment which will indeed come to all of us when we shall render our soul back to God. November is the month of the Holy Souls.
What a comfort it is for us all to realize that the mercy of God extends even beyond the grave to the souls in Purgatory, for Purgatory is that place in which we make our final preparation to appear before the God of All Mercy. In Purgatory we are cleansed of the last residue of sin, much as the bonfire burns away all the debris of the dying of the year. Purgatory is a place of joy and hope for there the individual souls know they are saved and preparing to enter eternity with God.
Our dearly departed loved ones, then, are with us in an even more real way. We are joined to them through the communion of the saints.
We know that God gave Moses Ten Commandments on Sinai’s height. But only one of the commandments has a blessing attached to it. It is the fourth commandment, which the saints have called the sweetest of the Decalogue, Honor they father and they mother. The commandment goes on to say, so that it may go well with you in the land and that God may bless you. When we arrange for the Christian burial of our parents, with all the rites of the Catholic Church, we are providing for them this last service of honor. We should also try to have Mass offered for our loved ones especially on the anniversary of the day of their birth into eternal life (their death date). We may also memorialize our loved ones by having the weekly flowers for the Church donated in their memory or by having the sanctuary lamp burn in their memory, or by offering the bread and wine for Holy Mass in their memory.
The souls in Purgatory are our dearest friends and just as we assist them with our prayers and sacrifices so do they also pray for us.
You may have your loved ones memorialized in the All Souls Day Novena of Masses by returning the envelopes with their names written on it.
Finally, please take note of the flyer in today’s bulletin. Fr. Al Winshman, S.J., will be visiting St. Paul’s to offer three days of prayer (a Triduum). The Triduum will be on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evening (November 10-12) at 7.00pm. Please be sure to attend these evenings of prayer. May God bless and reward you.
Nos cum prole pia, Benedicat Virgo Maria!