All Souls day - November 2, a sad day some could say, a reflective day others may add but in truth it is a day of prayer, an intense prayer. When we see an injured person we don’t start reflecting on how fragile our life is or that it could happen to us, but we simply do our best to help the person. Although All Souls day brings to our attention the necessity and irrevocability of dying the day is not about us. On All Souls day we are reminded that death which puts to an end the work of doctors, psychologists, nurses, councilors etc. doesn’t finish our interactions with those who have died. In the old days a cemetery would be an integral part of the church grounds. People walking to Mass would walk among the graves so that they could remember that the prayers are still appreciated by those whose bodies are turning onto dust. All Souls day is about the dead who are still in the Purgatory. Yesterday in the Gospel we heard Jesus say: “Happy who mourn, they shall be comforted.” They mourn because they have realized that their sins have separated them from the Lord. They are honest; they don’t pretend to be someone they are not. That’s the mystery of this day of All Souls. Our dead are honest. They acknowledge that their sins have separated them from God, they mourn that and they shall be comforted. I love honest people because they are like an open house Jesus can enter with his transforming and healing power. The Purgatory is filled with such people. I love them and I can’t pass them indifferently. That’s why I pray for them. It is their day. It is the day when we need to turn the attention away from us, away from our needs and plans and give that attention to those who have already walked through the gates of death. They need this prayer and I know that if they pray they don’t pray for themselves, they pray for us. Praying for the Holy Souls in the Purgatory is like getting new friends who will take the friendship with them to heaven. It is a powerful prayer when we pray for the dead.
Fr Daniel OMI
An Oblate Priest