"The souls of the just are in the hand of God and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; they shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect."
-- From the Book of Wisdom, (a reading for Mass on All Soul's Day).
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed. Through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
In paradisum (English: "Into paradise") is an antiphon from the traditional Latin liturgy of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass. It is sung by the choir as the body is being taken out of the church:Amen
In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem. May angels lead you into paradise; upon your arrival, may the martyrs receive you and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May the ranks of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, the poor man, may you have eternal rest.
Mozarts Requiem Mass in D Minor
Some other reflections for All Saints here, here and here.
"Despite the fact that death is a subject almost banned from our societies, and there are continuous attempts to remove even the thought of it from our minds, it actually concerns each one of us", Pope Benedict explained. "Faced with this mystery all of us, even unconsciously, seek something that allows us to hope, a sign that can bring consolation, a horizon open to a future". We are afraid of death because "we are afraid of the void, of departing towards something we do not know". At the same time, "we cannot accept that all the great and beautiful achievements of a lifetime can suddenly be wiped out, that they can fall into the abyss of emptiness. Above all we feel that love calls out for eternity, and we cannot accept that it is destroyed by death in a single moment. ... When we find ourselves towards the end of life, we have a perception that there is judgment of our actions, of how we conducted our life, especially in those dark movements which, with great ability, we often remove or seek to remove from our conscience".
In today's world, the Holy Father went on, "there is a widespread tendency to think that everything must be approached with the criteria of experimental science, and that even the great question of death must be answered, not with faith, but on the basis of empirical data. We are not sufficiently aware, however, that precisely by doing so we have ended up falling into a form of spiritism, in the attempt to have some contact with the world beyond death". However, for Christians the Solemnities of All Saints and All Souls "tell us that only those capable of recognising great hope in death are also able to live lives founded on hope. ... Man needs eternity; for him any other hope is too brief, too limited. Man is explainable only if there is a Love which overcomes all isolation, even the isolation of death, in a totality which transcends time and space. Man is explainable, he finds his most profound meaning, only if God exists. And we know that God ceased to be distant, that He came close to us".
"God truly showed Himself, He became accessible, He so loved the world 'that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life'. And by the supreme act of love upon the Cross, by emerging Himself in the abyss of death, He conquered death, He rose again and opened the doors of eternity for us too. Christ supports us through the night of death, which He Himself experienced. He is the Good Shepherd, to Whose guidance we can entrust ourselves without fear, because He knows the way, even through the darkness". "It is precisely faith in eternal life which gives Christians the courage to love this earth of ours even more intensely, and to work to build an earthly future of true and secure hope", the Holy Father concluded.
A couple of interesting articles from Thinking Faith:
The Last Things: Heaven, Hell and Purgatory - On this day each year, we observe All Souls’ Day and pray for all the faithful departed. Jesuit theologian, Josep Giménez discusses concepts of heaven, hell and purgatory, which are often brought to mind on this occasion but can be so difficult to talk about meaningfully. What form can our discourse about these eschatological topics take?
Judgement and Purgatory - Part 1 and Part 2 - As we observe the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls on 1st and 2nd November, we might ask if and how we are separated from the dead, and what our prayers for them mean. John McDade SJ answers these questions by exploring further the doctrine of Purgatory – how are we given life in death through achieving complete attentiveness to God?
iBenedictines - "Catholicism can be an uncomfortable religion to live by, but it is a wonderful religion in which to die"
Word on Fire - Today is All Souls' Day, the day on which we remember and pray for all who have died, not just those who have been named saints. Why do we pray for the dead? Fr. Barron offers a video explanation here.