Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
During November, we remember all those who have gone before, those who have gone to Heaven (on All Saints’ Day), and also all those who have gone to Purgatory for purification (All Souls’ Day). As the season changes and nature begins to die, it is a fitting remembrance. We often try to run and hide from death. Society has done its best to keep it hidden from us. However, it is a reality that will come for each person, and there is total equality in the judgment of God.
Every day we ought to prepare for death, lest it catches us off guard. Hopefully, it isn’t something we aren’t ready for when it comes for us, but we can be sure that it will come for us. However, because of Christ, we know that death does not have the final word. We know that for those who try to live a good and virtuous life, in faithfulness to the teachings of Christ, that there is a whole other life beyond this one. One where there is no disease, death, or unhappiness but total joy in the presence of God. This ought to fill us with all the hope we need to get through this valley of tears. It ought to also be the encouragement that we need to live a life attached to God alone and not to this world. As St. Philip Neri says, our citizenship is in Heaven.
During this month of the dead, certainly, be sure to pray for all those who have gone before us. For all of our family members, friends, parishioners, and especially for the souls who have no one else to pray for them. After we die, we will rely upon the prayers of those left here on earth to help purify us from the imperfections we left this world with. Purgatory for many seems unnecessary, medieval. However, Purgatory exists because of the goodness of God. It is not a place that we ought to strive for, but it is a place of mercy. For those who die in mortal sin and are unrepentant for their sins, there is no hope for them. For those who lived a life of sanctity and virtue, these are the most blessed and who we now venerate as saints. For the rest of us who, because of this or that attachment, still haven’t fully adopted the Divine Nature that Christ has offered to us, what should happen to us? Justice would say we go with the unrepentant and fallen angels. But God in His mercy says no, these can work out their imperfections and attachments in Purgatory. And while these souls do suffer, which is why we pray for them, they are promised eternal life once their purification is complete. Because to behold the face of God, one must be completely pure.
So do well, during this month, to pray for the dead. But also consider your death, where you want to end up and do what is necessary to end up in Heaven! Do now squander even a minute because death can come for any of us at a moment we don’t expect!
May the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace!