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

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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.

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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.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 13, 2010

THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

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

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