The Souls of the Faithful Departed

Today the Catholic Church celebrates All Souls Day, the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed.

The theological basis of today’s commemoration is the belief that upon death most human souls are not ready for heaven and thus reside in purgatory. Thus, on this day, the Church prays for the holy souls in purgatory, who are undergoing purification of their sins before entering heaven.

I don’t consider myself capable of determining who is in heaven and who isn’t, but I do use this day to remember in a special way those who have died. Especially those whose lives were woven into the fabric of my life. My father. Ned, my friend and mentor. Lucinda, with whom I travelled in Asia and who taught me much about Buddhism. Don, who modeled how to live and how to die. Bobby, my brave firefighter cousin, who died in the line of duty. The list goes on and on.

Just as on All Saints Day we remember those saints who have been models for us of a life lived for Christ, today we remember those “faithful departed” who have in one way or the other been part of our lives, whose presence has enriched us in some way.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and all the wouls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.