Since the eleventh century, the Feast of All Souls has been celebrated for deceased Christians that they might “rest in peace.” Catholics believe, as we recite in the Creed, in the “communion of saints.”
In the Feast of All Saints and the Feast of All Souls, we solidify that belief. This is the union of the faithful on earth (the Church Militant), the saints in Heaven (the Church Triumphant) and the souls in Purgatory (the Church Suffering). This is the body of believers, with Christ as the head. We are united in a spiritual bond.
Through prayer we communicate, and since we never die, but live forever through the death and resurrection of Christ, we can still communicate with each other. As believers on earth, we can pray to our brethren who are in Heaven or Purgatory. Those in Purgatory benefit from our prayers, and we from theirs. They cannot pray for themselves, so we need to remember to pray for them. And we can ask those in Purgatory and those in Heaven to pray for us while we are on our earthly pilgrimage with our destination being Heaven.
The Feast of All Saints and All Souls has been lost to the secular celebration of Halloween, just as our Lord’s birth has been lost in the celebration of the coming of Santa Claus. Traditions that are not lived are soon forgotten.
Keep the feast days and give the saints the remembrance and honor they deserve. And remember that they surround us, cheering us on and always interceding for us.
From Johnnette Benkovic’s Graceful Living: Meditations to Help You Grow Closer to God Day by Day
“Some souls would suffer in Purgatory until the Day of Judgment if they were not relieved by the prayers of the Church.”— Traditionally attributed to St. Robert Bellarmine
What offering or sacrifice can I make today to benefit the holy souls in Purgatory?
Thank you, dear brothers and sisters in Heaven, for your intercession for us. Please ask our Lord to grant us the graces we need to keep our eyes focused on the goal of Heaven and the courage to finish the race in faithfulness to Him. Amen.