All Souls Day — November 2
The souls of the Just are in the hands of God. —Wisdom 3:1-7
Today's remembrance is closely linked to All Saints Day, November 1. In the liturgy we celebrate the communion of all the saints, i.e. the blessed now in heaven. All Souls Day, however, refers to all those who are still in some kind of intermediate state of existence and purification.
We really know very little about the specifics regarding our life after death. However, sacred scripture, tradition and the writings of the mystics do give us encouraging insights and food for thought. Today, we are further blessed with some very helpful and encouraging clues to this mystery. We are fortunate to be given new insights from the verbatim testimonies of many people, including children, who have had a "Near Death Experience" (N.D.E). Their amazing testimonies are different regarding the circumstances but the important parts of the dying process mentioned in their testimonies are very similar. Much has been written on the topic. Dr. Raymond Moody's book, Life After Life, written in 1975, was one of the earliest writings on N.D.E. testimonies.
There is a general understanding that this "waiting period" at the time of death, which may only be an instant, makes sense because we are all sinners, more or less, and thus can appreciate that our God who is perfect Love and Mercy would give us a final opportunity if needed, to be totally healed of any of life's hurts due to our own sins or because of the sins against us. Some have imagined that this review of life is like looking at a fast moving movie during which we experience the healing presence of God's unconditional love, mercy and forgiveness. Thus, this is a time of total reconciliation and spiritual healing which is necessary to prepare us for entering into the eternal welcoming presence of God's loving embrace.
“It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins." —2 Macabees 12:46
"Lord God, you are the glory of believers and the life of the Just.
"Since our departed brothers and sisters believed in the mystery of the resurrection, let them share the joys and blessings of the life to come."
- What do you consider to be the deepest meaning of your life here and now, each day, with its joys and sorrows?
- During our lifetime, we have many opportunities to become unique reflections of God’s love. How can you become more aware of these opportunities and be responsive to them?
By Mary Fatta CSJ