Happy Solemnity of All Saints!
In these last few weeks of the liturgical year, the Church gives us a lot to think about. As the name of today’s solemnity makes clear, we are mindful of all the saints in the heavenly court- people from all different parts of the world, different walks of life, and different ages, now surrounding Jesus seated on his heavenly throne. It’s good for us to have devotions to our favorite saints; their witness to Christ in this life inspires us to holiness. We might even add their names to the Litany of Saints when we pray it if they are not already listed.
However, the wider scope of the Solemnity of All Saints is that there are many other souls in heaven that have never gone through the official canonization process, and therefore will not be found in any litany or on any official list of saints of the Church. These souls are also included in what we celebrate today! These include the souls whose holiness was not widely known in this life and the souls who, thanks to the prayers and sacrifices of us here on earth, were released from their time in Purgatory. When we think about all of the saints in heaven, hopefully we are filled with the hope that eternal life is certainly real and that we are called to follow in their footsteps so that we might one day join them in heaven!
That brings us to tomorrow’s (Nov. 2) commemoration of All Souls. On All Souls Day, we are mindful to pray for all the souls of those who have died and are going through the final purification (Purgatory) before they can enter heaven. The Church’s doctrine of Purgatory is based on various passages from Scripture, as is the practice of praying for the dead so that they may be released from Purgatory. Praying for the dead is a practice that is very dear to the Church, as evidenced by the fact that this practice has always been a part of the Church’s liturgy throughout her history. In fact, we still pray for the dead in each of the four Eucharistic Prayers that can be used during Mass. As one of many examples from the Fathers of the Church, St. John Chrysostom, who lived in the fourth century, once said in a homily, “Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice (see Job 1:5), why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.” Our prayers and sacrifices provide a real and actual help to the poor souls in Purgatory; what a gift this is- for us and for them! Keep in mind that if your prayers help a soul through Purgatory, then you have made a new friend- and that soul will be praying for you!
The last Sunday of the liturgical year is the Solemnity of Christ the King, which falls on Nov. 22 this year. The Church places this feast at the end of the liturgical year so as to make us mindful that Christ, King of heaven and earth, will also be our judge at the end of time. We hear Jesus mention multiple times and in varied ways through the Gospels that “the Kingdom of God is at hand.” We are called to live in this life as loyal subjects to so noble a King, that no one can doubt to whom our service is directed, and in whose palace we hope to spend eternal life!
A few reminders, briefly mentioned:
Firstly, there will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (adoration) tomorrow, Monday, Nov. 2 at 6:00A.M. until 6:00A.M. on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at the Paulding church. Please come to pray for the Lord’s protection over our country!
Secondly, the November Latin Mass will be on Saturday, Nov. 14, at 8:00 A.M. in the Payne church. Confessions will start at 7:15.
Blessings to you all!