The month of November is a month of remembrance. This weekend we celebrate the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls, November 1st and 2nd. We remember the wonderful example the Saints in the history of our Church have given us, who have inspired us to carry our cross and live the gospel of Christ. These are the ones who now share God’s glory in heaven! Chances are for every situation you might experience, there is a saint who has had similar experience as well. This being said, we look to them to be a source of hope and joy and strength for us. There might also be living saints among us whom you know, relatives or people who you know personally today and who inspire you to become a better person for God. We want to remember them and thank God too for the wisdom and virtue they instill in us.
This month we also remember the “Poor Souls,” those who have died and gone before us and yet still wait their turn to enter into heaven. Some of these people we also have known, but who might have struggled in their life and have passed. They need our prayers to help them make that final step into heaven in union with God.
Sometimes I get a question about the Doctrine of Purgatory, people who say, “If God is all good, why doesn’t he just allow everyone into heaven right away and simply by-pass this place, once and for all?” My response always is: “God does! The problem is that person themselves may not be entirely willing or ready to come into perfect union with an all-loving, all-perfect God!” I like to think of purgatory as “Heaven’s Hospital.” We go to a hospital to be healed, to get well. Purgatory is a place of healing most of all. Does going to the hospital entail some discomfort or pain? Of course it does, but for a higher cause. Our understanding of Purgatory is much like that. Since none of us dies and leaves this earth without some wounds or some spiritual or emotional battle scares, purgatory is a place for us to get well. It’s a place where all our hurts and emotional pain and sins are purged away so we can truly enter into joy of heaven with Jesus, fully dressed and fully embracing the love of God!
This past Fall, Geralyn Nathe-Evans (our Faith Formation Director) has held a series of “Bereavement Classes” for those who grieve the loss of a loved one. The culmination of this series will be an All Souls Day Prayer Service, held on Monday November 2nd at 6:30 pm at St. Paul Church. Since I will be gone, this will be a prayer service (not a Mass) to pray for all our faithful departed to help them and us heal and also continue and carry on.
So, my hope is that throughout November we remember those who have been a big part of our life. God bless us all as we continue to live communion in with all the Saints and Souls we know in Christ!