The Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day) is celebrated in our Catholic Faith on Nov 2nd. On this day we remember both those who have recently passed and those who have left many years ago.
I remember as a child my mother recalling the life and passing of an Aunt who had died 20 years earlier. At 7 years old I remember thinking, ‘Gee that was so long ago, and she still remembers her!” Now that my mother has been gone nearly 40 years, there are so many times in my life that I remember her sweetness, her gentleness, and her faith. My dad has been gone nearly as long and there are times my sister and I say that we can still recall his laughter! I find that I quote both of them even more frequently now. At the back of my desk at work, I have photos and prayer cards from those associated with Mission Doctors who I both pray for and ask for their intercessions.
So, as we remember all of our family and friends who have passed by praying for them on this special day, we do so in confidence that it is the right thing to do – the Bible, both old and new testament shows us that we are called to pray for those who have left this world for the next. In the Wisdom of Sirach it says: “Give graciously to all the living; do not withhold kindness even from the dead” (Sirach 7:33) and it was a practice among the community that Jesus grew up with and lived with – both before his time and continues today.
St. Paul prays for Onesiphorus who has passed, in 2 Timothy 1:16-18. “The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day—and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus.”
When St. Augustine’s pious mother was departing this life, her last request was: “Lay this body anywhere, let not the care for it trouble you at all. This only I ask, that you will remember me at the Lord’s altar, wherever you be” (Confessions 9:27).
So, let us remember, let us pray, let us celebrate the lives of those who have gone before, and ask that when we pass others will remember and pray for us too.