1 Nov 2016

2nd November - Remembering all our beloved dead




 
We praise You, Lord, for Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape….
Blessed are those that she finds doing Your Will.
No second death can do them harm.
 
 - St. Francis of Assisi,
“Canticle of the Sun”
 

The Triduum of the Dead - (All Hallows Eve (Halloween), All Saints and All Souls) is a reminder to us that our nearest and dearest who have died are not really that far away and that we honour and pray for and with each other in the Communion of Saints especially at this time of the year. Whilst you remember your own loved ones at this time, also remember to pray for those that are mourning. While time may change the pain of loss, it can never be said to truly go away; remember those who mourn and feel that pain at this time too especially for those who have lost loved ones in the last twelve months.
 

Psalm 130
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice!
O let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleading.

If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt,
Lord, who would survive?
But with you is found forgiveness:
for this we revere you.

My soul is waiting for the Lord,
I count on his word.
My soul is longing for the Lord
more than watchmen for daybreak.

Let the watchmen count on daybreak
and Israel on the Lord.

Because with the Lord there is mercy
and fullness of redemption,
Israel indeed he will redeem
from all its iniquity
.
There is a Mexican saying that we die three deaths: the first when our bodies die, the second when our bodies are lowered into the earth out of sight, and the third when our loved ones forget us. Catholics forestall that last death by seeing the faithful dead as members of the Church, alive in Christ, and by praying for them -- and asking their prayers for us -- always. Cardinal Wiseman wrote in his Lecture XI: Sweet is the consolation of the dying man, who, conscious of imperfection, believes that there are others to make intercession for him, when his own time for merit has expired; soothing to the afflicted survivors the thought that they possess powerful means of relieving their friend. In the first moments of grief, this sentiment will often overpower religious prejudice, cast down the unbeliever on his knees beside the remains of his friend and snatch from him an unconscious prayer for rest; it is an impulse of nature which for the moment, aided by the analogies of revealed truth, seizes at once upon this consoling belief. But it is only a flitting and melancholy light, while the Catholic feeling, cheering though with solemn dimness, resembles the unfailing lamp, which the piety of the ancients is said to have hung before the sepulchres of their dead. Though we should daily pray for the dead in Purgatory, above all for our ancestors, today is especially set aside for hanging that "unfailing lamp before the sepulchres of our dead"  
Today is the feast of All-Souls, when we commemorate all those who have gone before us for their eternal reward, those who have died, marked with the sign of faith. We already commemorate the dead at every single Mass, as part of the Eucharistic Prayer, and we will hear these words again today. We recognize that they are part of the mystical body in the church. But today we reflect in a special way, not so much on the dead, but those waiting for their reward at this moment. The topic may sound morbid, but in fact it contains a secret to tremendous joy. Unless Jesus happens to return in glory first, we will all have to face death, whether our own or that of some close to us. And our faith has a direct impact on how we face this ultimate moment. 


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