“May the souls of the Faithful Departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen”
Reflections on the readings for The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (November 2, 2019): WIS 3:1-9; PS 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6; ROM 5:5-11; JN 6:37-40
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
On this feast we pray for all the faithful people who have gone before us and are being cleansed from the last traces of sin that damaged their souls.
It is fitting that we turn our attention to them on the day after we have venerated the saints in Heaven. Those in purgatory are destined to make their eternal home with God. They sinned, but they also loved. Despite all the mistakes and failures for which these children of the Lord were responsible during their lives, ultimately they chose God and embraced His mercy. Too often we make the mistake of thinking the sufferings of purgatory and hell are very much the same, except that hell never ends. But purgatory is a preparation to enable less-than-perfect souls to spend eternity in the brightness of God’s unending love. It is a place of perfect hope in His forgiveness and generosity. Hell is reserved for those who willingly and knowingly choose the world, the flesh, and the devil. In other words, those who let their own selfish interests and desires to rule their lives and dictate their eternal destiny turn away from God for all eternity.
St. Paul reminds us of the depth of our Lord’s love for His people. “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts.… Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by His life” (Romans 5:5, 10). We can thank God for His loving-kindness for us and for our departed brothers and sisters, by praying often that they may soon join Him as the bright, beautiful souls they were always meant to be.
Suggested missionary action: Let us resolve to pray each day for the souls in purgatory. And let us reach out in a practical way to help our friends and neighbors who are grieving the loss of loved ones. Perhaps also remember someone you love and have lost with a Mass in the Missions in their memory.