Today, November 1, we commemorate All Saints Day. The day before is called All Hallows Eve, whose contraction is Hallowe'en. The purpose was and is honoring the Saints: those faithful departed who are in Heaven beholding God face to face (the Beatific Vision). The day after, November 2, eventually became a day dedicated to those departed faithful who have not yet reached Heaven. They are in purgatory. Tomorrow, All Souls Day, Catholics gather together in Churches throughout the world to pray in the Holy Mass for these brothers and sisters who no longer can merit for themselves but rely upon us for prayers.
This is the time to remember both the Saints and the holy souls in Purgatory. We ask the Saints to be our prayer partners so that we too may get to Heaven one day. We also pray for the deceased that their sojourn may end soon so that they will behold the Face of God.
When we think of the Saints, we reflect that they loved God and all people. So, many of them gave up their freedom and possessions in order to care for the poor and the sick. They saw Jesus in each person they tended. The Souls in Purgatory loved God too, although imperfectly. They died with God’s Life in them; however, they still had unforgiven venial sins and perhaps did not make sufficient reparation for forgiven mortal sins. Nevertheless, they love God and are happy to do his will. They know that they will be in Heaven and see God after their time of cleansing.
Our prayers for these Souls shows our love for them. We can offer up the merits gained by our prayers and sacrifices for them; they can no longer gain merit for themselves. We love them because they are God’s children. We and everyone here on earth are God’s children too, whether we are born or not yet born, sick or weak. So, all of us together, with God’s children in heaven, make up the Communion of Saints.
May we continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Purgatory. May they soon be celebrating their All Saints’ Day in Heaven.