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Monday, November 02, 2009

Mass for the Feast of All Souls

I just arrived home from Mass, and I'm grieving with the same kind of sadness as that which strikes me to the core on Good Friday. Such is proper, it would seem. Today, and throughout the month of November especially, we remember the souls of those who have died, and we pray for them, offer sacrifices for them, and implore the Saints to intercede as well.

Last night I woke up around 3 am (which is common for me) and realized that I'd almost forgotten a loss very dear to me; my cousin George, who died in April. He's been at the forefront of my mind all day, and in truth, I believe he is asking for prayers. Yet I also have been praying much for my Dad, in hopes that somehow, my measly prayers can perhaps be of some help to him. I guess it's proper that these two souls have been closest to my heart today, for although no one could replace my Dad, George was definitely a "father figure" to me in some ways and I would not be the person I am without either of them.

So my heart is heavy today, as it should be.

This evening at Mass Father's homily nearly brought me to tears. In truth, it did, a little, and I fought mightily to will those tears back into their ducts. I knew if I got started, I would be overwhelmed by the grief he so perfectly named as he spoke about the purpose of today's remembrance, and in considering that everyone there had lost someone close to them. We were there, tonight, in Catholic Churches all over the world, united in our grief and in our prayers for all the Holy Souls.

It was as beautiful as it was sad, but there wasn't any other place I wanted to be in that moment.

After I had received Holy Communion and returned to my pew, I recalled that NOW is the time to unite my grief, there at the foot of the Cross with our Sorrowful Mother. There, at the Cross, where that same sorrow sent Our Lord to suffer death in order to overcome it. It occurred to me that when we grieve, it is a very direct participation in the sufferings of Christ, for before we ever experienced love, He had experienced losses we cannot fathom, and grieved so profoundly He was made incarnate in order to free us from death!

While pondering this, suddenly the words, "May the Passion of Our Lord be always in your heart. May the Passion of the Lord be always in your soul!" so strongly it was as if I was taken directly to Calvary, where I knelt on the stones. I could hear the creak of the heavy Cross that swayed in the wind and in response to Our Lord's gasping breaths. I felt drops of His blood, noted the terrible lashes that wound down His legs even to his feet. It was so real, so vivid, that I knew in that very moment it WAS true, it WAS happening, and it does at EVERY Holy Mass!

The Sacrifice of the Mass is just that; it is the one and only Sacrifice of Calvary, made present for us in all times.

And there is where we most efficaciously offer our prayers and petitions, where we unite our own sufferings, offer ourselves upon the same altar, taking refuge under the shadow of His wings, seeking to hide within Jesus' Most Sacred Heart.

I was torn away from the blessed images that had come to me in prayer, called to stand for the final blessing. As I opened my eyes I felt as though, for a moment, I'd been transported through time...and I never wanted it to end.

Truly, the Mass is more real than anything else we can experience in this life.

The rest of life is only preparation, time spent preparing to go to Mass, and each Mass is an experience of the Eternal Mass to which we are called for eternity. The blessed are those who have gone before us and wait for us to join them when the Master calls.

We mourn those we love, and we are left with grief-spotted lives, torn tapestries revealing those we think should be present in our lives. And yet, if what the Mass reveals is true, even if they are in the fires of Purgatory, they are blessed, for even there they are a PART of the Mass in a way none of us can be. They are in constant prayer...for us. They are free from this earthly mortal coil that holds us back, perhaps in a true "dark night of the soul" for they are SO CLOSE to God, and need only our prayers and sacrifices to help them enter into eternal beatitude, finally reaching that eternal Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

We mourn here on earth, and it's proper to our state. We sow in tears, praying to one day reap in joy when finally, we, too are called by the Master to enter into His house. Perhaps we, too, will need to be purified, and we will need the prayers of the Faithful especially when Heaven touches Earth in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Today, let us mourn those we love, and those who have no one else to pray for them. Let us recall the Passion and Death of Our Lord and rejoice in His Sacrifice, for it is that very Sacrifice that gives us all hope for a blessed eternity. If we truly love those we have lost, that is what we will for them. Remember that death is not the end but really only the beginning of eternity.

Thank you, Jesus.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us

Christ, hear us
Christ, most graciously hear us

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord.
And may perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithfully departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.


1 comment:

Melody K said...

I hope you will write some more about George sometime; he sounds like a good guy.
I love the Wisdom 3:1-9 reading for All Souls Day. We chose that for one of the readings for my Mom's funeral.
"But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them..." It speaks to me of trust in God to take care of our loved ones.
Prayers for George and your dad, and all the departed.