February 28, 2024

The Catholic Church is morally mandated to remember and pray for the living and the dead. Prayer is the best gift we can give and the best way to honor, thank, and respect our beloved dead.
Some religious sects are seriously working nowadays to discourage people to pray for the dead. Do not be deceived and do not be influenced by them. They have nothing better to do than to criticize and put down our beautiful Catholic tradition. We continue to practice our beautiful traditions and we include praying them.
The All Souls’ Day or the commemoration of all the faithful departed is rooted in ancient tradition (2nd Century). St. Odilo of Cluny established a memorial of all the faithful departed in 988. It was accepted in Rome in the 13th Century (Ordo 2023).
The church teaches a beautiful picture on how we see the church as church militant, church suffering, and church triumphant.
We, the living, are the church militant. We are journeying together with one another as a church and with the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis exhorts the synodality aspect of our earthly pilgrimage as not to exclude anyone along the way. The beatitude will inspire our journey that despite the persecutions, tears, threats, and even death for the sake of the Lord may turn to blessings. The militant church continue to move and to pray for both the living and the dead.
It is therefore our moral and spiritual responsibility to pray for our beloved dead asking the good and merciful Lord to clean them and welcome them into his kingdom.
Our beloved dead belong to the church suffering where they are still in the state of purification. The church suffering cannot help themselves or pray for themselves. We church militant can help them through our prayers.
We light candles for them and we pray for them. “Eternal rest grant unto our beloved dead O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.” We have All Souls’ Day to commemorate them.
The Church triumphant is the church of the saints in heaven. For the holiness they have lived and shared in their earthly life, God rewarded them the beautiful promise of eternal happiness. The church triumphant or the saints can intercede and help both the church militant and church suffering. We cling to our saints for intercession, and therefore we have the All Saints’ Day.
CCC 1030 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.
CCC 1031 The Church gives the name purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on purgatory, especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire.607
As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire.
CCC 1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: “Therefore (Judas Maccabeus) made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.”609 From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.
Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation?
All Saints Day and All Souls Day are not days to be in the cemeteries to gamble and get drunk. Yesterday, I felt bad to see group of men playing cards and dice of majong with P1,000 bills and another group of young people with cards and bet money. I personally approached them and pleaded to stop their gambling activities.
Happy All Souls’ Day! Visit them in their graves. Light a candle. Pray for them. They will be happy and grateful.
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