Feast of All Souls (November 2)   7 comments

Above: All Souls’ Day, by William Bouguereau

Image in the Public Domain

The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed


The Assigned Readings for This Feast:

Wisdom 3:1-9 or Isaiah 25:6-9

Psalm 130 or Psalm 116:10-17

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 or 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

John 5:24-27

The Collect:

O God, the Maker and Redeemer of all believers: Grant to the faithful departed the unsearchable benefits of the passion of your Son; that on the day of his appearing they may be manifested as your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


The practice of praying for the dead predates Christianity; indeed, it is Jewish, too.  This practice resides at the root of All Souls’ Day in Western Christianity.  In particular, the Roman Catholic concept of Purgatory comes into play here.

Purgatory is a frequently misunderstood doctrine.  It is, as I have heard it described, “God’ s mud room.”  The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes it this way:

All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

I do not know what happens immediately after one dies.  That is a matter for God.  So I propose that praying for the dead cannot hurt, and might help.  I pray for the dead.


JUNE 13, 2010


Published originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on June 13, 2010


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