Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed (All Souls)

Death does not separate us from one another—neither from the saints, nor from loved ones who have died but had not become perfectly holy on earth. We are helped by the prayers of the saints and we pray for those who have died in need of further healing and purification. This is our great Communion of Saints. Let us pray for all deceased members of our families and of the Apostleship of Prayer today as we reflect on part of a 2006 homily of Pope Benedict.

In the past few days the Solemnity of All Saints and the Commemoration of All Souls have helped us to meditate on the final destination of our earthly pilgrimage…. At the end of life, death deprives us of all that is earthly, but not of that Grace and that sacramental "character" by virtue of which we are indissolubly associated with Our Lord and Savior’s Paschal Mystery. Emptied of all but clothed in Christ: thus do the baptized cross the threshold of death and are presented to the just and merciful God. In order that the white garment received in Baptism may be purified of every speck and every stain, the Community of believers offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice and other prayers of suffrage for those whom death has called to pass from time to eternity.

Praying for the dead is a noble practice that implies belief in the resurrection of the dead, in accordance with what has been revealed to us by Sacred Scripture and, in a complete way, by the Gospel. … To each one of them Christ "gave the words" of the Father, and they "received them" and they have "believed"; they have placed their trust in the Father and in the Son (cf. Jn 17: 8). It was for them that he prayed (cf. Jn 17: 9), entrusting them to the Father (cf. Jn 17: 15, 17, 20-21), saying in particular, "Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory" (Jn 17: 24).

We intend our prayers of suffrage today to be united with this prayer of the Lord which is priestly par excellence. Christ substantiated his entreaty to the Father with the gift of himself on the Cross; let us offer our prayers in union with the Eucharistic Sacrifice, which is the real and actual representation of that unique and saving self-emptying.

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