The Day of the Dead, William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)
Today we dedicate our prayers in suffrage for the souls in purgatory, still being purified of the remains of sin. Our ties with deceased relatives and friends do not end with their death. Priests can celebrate Mass three times on this day for their benefit, and all the faithful can gain special indulgences to expedite their entrance into heaven.Here is the translation of the beautiful, yet mournful music for the day which I heard at Pray As You Go a few years ago. It touched my heart and made me contemplate more deeply the mysteries of faith, life, and death.
Free the souls of all the faithful departed.
Free them from the pains of hell.
Free them from the deep pit.
Free them from the lion's mouth.
Make them pass from death to life.
As I listen, I may want to pray too for the people I know who have died or perhaps to contemplate in these moments the ultimate hope that God offers me of freedom from all things that threaten and trouble me: the promise God makes me of eternal life.
This dovetailed with the reading from today that touched my heart most, surprisingly, to me, from Wisdom. Reading it line by line, I felt that ache of missing those I love, but the surety that God offers for the faithful departed.
Wis 3:1-9I think today of my beloved dead. I love them and I miss them. Certainly, I pray for them to be happy and joyful in Heaven. And I long to see God's face ... which is a surprising longing for me to be experiencing. But one which I accept gratefully.
The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
they shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
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.
- Our two unborn children
- Tom's father
- Tom's mother
- Mrs. Ford
- Robin Ford
- Dorsey's mother
- Aunt Laura
- Uncle Adolph
- Mark (Tom's cousin)
- Maggie Garcia
- Sarah Arnold
- Gregg Margarite
- Harry Steven
Rest Eternal Grant Them, Lord!Here is a litany for the souls in Purgatory.
Take we up the touching burden of November plaints,
Pleading for the Holy Souls, God’s yet uncrowned Saints.
Still unpaid to our departed is the debt we owe;
Still unransomed, some are pining, sore oppressed with woe.
Friends we loved and vowed to cherish call us in their need:
Prove we now our love was real, true in word and deed.
“Rest eternal grant them, Lord!” full often let us pray—
“Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine!”
You can read more about All Souls' Day here. For those with any questions about Purgatory I posted this extremely basic explanation a while back.
Catholic Culture explains indulgences and practices that Catholics can do during the month of November for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. Also be sure to swing by Recta Ratio, who's really got soul ... check out his place. In the past he has examined such fascinating topics as Catholic death customs, especially medieval ones.