Last weekend was jammed packed with celebration and remembrance. Friday, 1 November 2013 was All Saints Day. Sunday, 3 November 2013 was All Souls Day. All too often I hear many of my Evangelical Protestant buddies and clergy colleagues say that they don’t pray for people who died because “They’re dead, so why pray for somebody who is dead?”
That had always bothered me. I believe that the soul never dies. And as a result we are to pray for those souls. Not to pray for them because we have no idea where they are, but rather because their soul still lives.
As a whole, many members of our society often seek guidance from the departed regarding a variety of life situations. We often look to the sky and ask grandma “Please help me” or uncle such and such “Please give me strength” or say to friend “I know you looking down on me from up there…”
We make these petitions to the people who were important to us in these moments, and then we don’t turn around to pray for them. It’s as if we expect them to be there watching us, but we don’t pray for them. It doesn’t make sense. If I’m going to ask you to give me inspiration or to watch over me as I complete a task or if I’m dedicating a life work to you (a game-winning score, a book dedication, etc.) I should then turn around and pray for you. I then look and I make sure I do so.
All Souls Day is a day in which we, the Church, set aside for the People of God, here on Earth, to remember the People of God who are no longer here with us. We pray for them and for God’s grace and mercy on them. We reflect on their impact on our lives. We are to reflect on the impact that they had on lives while both on earth and while dead. All Souls Day is usually accompanied by a Requiem Mass.
All Saints days for us to remember all the different ways in which the Saint’s of God have impacted us. It’s more of a catch-all day for all the saints of the church; canonized or not.
I was listening to Sirius XM’s the Catholic Channel and their show “Seize the Day.” The commentator, Gus Lloyd, would refer to each caller as: “St. whatever his or her name is.” The philosophy is that all the believers on earth are “saints-in-training.”
At first this caught me off guard but as time went on and I continue to listen to the prayer requests put out there by callers and the subsequent prayer by Gus Lloyd, I understood. Even though is not clergy, Lloyd has a blessed gift of prayer, and for focusing on meeting people where they are. Some of these people need to know that despite whatever they did, or wherever they are, they are capable of being saints.
It is my prayer that many of you really contemplate celebrating All Souls Day and All Saints Day in the future. If we are willing to dedicate our books and dedicate different aspects of our lives to our loved ones, the ones we care about or all the ones who inspire us, we should then in turn, pray for their souls.