The ties that bind us in life do not unravel with death. It is love that binds us, and love is stronger than death. As November brings the beautiful feasts of the church celebrate this truth.
Friday is the holy day of obligation of All Saints and Saturday we celebrate All Souls.
All Saints: Imagine that your grandmother were to be canonized a saint by Pope Francis. Your friends would all congratulate you, and you would joyfully make arrangements to go to Rome for the Mass and party. This feast is for celebrating all the uncanonized saints in heaven. This is the church celebrating your friends and relatives who have gone to God forever and entered into eternal bliss beyond our imagining. We don’t have to go to Rome for the canonization, but can all gather in our parishes to celebrate our loved ones’ union with God.
All Souls: here we get to mercifully pray for our loved ones because the Lord doesn’t tell us which of our loved ones are in heaven, purgatory, or oops. True friends are always there to help each other. Souls who have are in purgatory can no longer merit for themselves, as their souls are set in their eternal destiny. However, what they can’t do, we do for them when we pray to the Lord to have mercy on their souls! Every prayer, every Hail Mary, every loving thought, is like a glass of water given to a thirsty soul.
Don’t worry, no soul in purgatory would ever trade places with you…. because their presence in purgatory assures them of eternal bliss in heaven, just as soon as their soul is freed from its disordered attachments. But what gratitude they have for even the smallest of our prayers.
Ever since my mother passed away this summer, so many of you have expressed words of kindness, prayer and solidarity. And our conversations shown me how keenly aware you are of how long it has been since the loss of your loved ones. It has been a constant reminder of how lasting and strong are the bonds of love that even the separation of death can not destroy.
You can do one thing to keep alive and even strengthen those bonds of love: pray for you loved ones. This is a sign of our gratitude to those we love, and our hope for reunion with them one day. It is our love that compels us to attend Mass and worship God for his great work in our families.