Autumn, with its tapestry of changing, falling leaves manifesting the hidden miracles of nature and the genius of the Author of creation, provides a living image (in our hemisphere at least) to accompany the readings from Scripture in the end of the liturgical year and two important feasts. In the final weeks of Ordinary Time, the Church focuses our attention on the end times: the last judgment and the second coming of Christ. We will soon hear about the importance of being always prepared for His return. In November, we celebrate the feasts of All Saints (1st) and All Souls (2nd). The theme of death and judgment is mirrored in the starkness of the barren trees and decaying foliage. One day, our bodies shall die and return to the dust of the earth and our souls shall stand naked before the throne of God.
Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization
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Friday, November 01, 2013
Bulletin Column on the Fall Feasts
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
All Saints Day is a day to celebrate and honor all the men and women of every time and place who have lived lives of heroic virtue and stand as models of sanctity for us. We beg their intercession for our petitions. Be sure to research and know personally your patron saint! He or she is your constant companion in the journey to union with God. Be close to the saints, for they show us the way to Jesus and plead for us in our needs.
All Souls Day is a day of remembering the faithful departed. The story of Judas Maccabeus in the Book of Maccabees shows us the importance of praying for the dead. Judas (not the betrayer of Jesus) offers sacrifice in the temple for his fallen comrades and friends after a battle. He is concerned for their souls and his devotion spurs him on to offer prayer for them. This tells us that these souls may have been in a state of purification and not yet in Heaven, therefore, they needed prayers offered on their behalf. This state of purification we call Purgatory – God’s merciful gift to us to allow our souls to be cleansed of the effects of sin before entering paradise. We all know the effect of our sinfulness and our need to be reconciled and purified so as to be worthy of union with God. Our love for those who have died compels us, like Judas, to pray for the dead. By our prayers for God’s mercy, we can assist the souls in Purgatory to enter Heaven quickly. How good it is to pray in love for those who have gone before us!
On All Souls Day and throughout the month of November, we remember the faithful departed and all the deceased in our prayers and especially at Holy Mass. It is a great act of charity to pray for the dead, an opportunity we should never miss. Please take advantage of the envelopes in the back of the church and list the names of those for whom you wish us to pray at Mass. Please also take time each day to pray for your deceased loved ones. Teach your children to pray for the dead as well, so that when you reach the end of your earthly life, your soul is not forgotten.
God bless you!