Friday, November 02, 2012

The Faithful Shall Abide with Him in Love

The Faithful Shall Abidewith Him in Love

November 2, 2012
The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)

By Melanie Rigney
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. (Wisdom 3:9)
Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me. (Psalms 23:4)

Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Romans 5:5)

“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” (John 6:40)

Lord, I lift up all the faithful departed to Your tender mercies, particularly those who have been shepherds on my journey.

Blessed Mary of Providence, born Eugenie Smet in 1835, was very concerned about the souls in purgatory. The Society of the Helpers of the Holy Souls, which she founded when she was just twenty-one, still seeks to have Masses said each day for the holy souls… but the members’ mission has expanded to include working for peace and justice for those still here on earth.

In some ways, the society shines a light on ways in which our own spirituality can grow and catch fire. Today in particular, we remember those souls who have not yet entered heaven. We believe the state called “purgatory” is where the “unholy” parts of us are cleansed in preparation for our joyful entry into God’s presence. We pray for all departed souls, and most of us pray in particular for family and friends who died in the past year. We pray for the parents and grandparents and siblings and extended family and friends who reflected Christ, sometimes without being consciously aware of it. And yet, as Blessed Mary of Providence’s congregation has discovered during its century-plus of service, praying for the faithful departed brings to mind the work they left unfinished here on earth, and not only in our own souls. Their work for peace is not complete. Their work for justice is not complete. Their work that Christ might be known to all is not complete.

While we honor the faithful departed with our prayers today, let’s also contemplate on actions we might take to honor their unfinished business. So your grandmother used to talk about God as you made cookies together? Do the same with your own grandchildren, or consider a ministry that would allow you to do the same with at-risk children.  So your best friend was always there when you needed a listening ear? Slow down, just for today, and do the same for a friend you haven’t seen for a while in memory of your best friend. Show people the Son, so that they might believe.

Pray with your favorite saint on ways you can bring the gifts of your best-loved departed family member or friend to life today.

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