"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
- 2 Chronicles 7:14
"The devotion to the memory of the dead is one of the most beautiful expressions of the Catholic spirit."
- Pope St. John XXIII
When we lose a loved one, the pain we experience is unbearable. We remember all that touched us so deeply. Prayer and time help to ease our hearts but they do not take away their memory.
On All Soul's Day, we remember that death is a natural part of life and we lift our loved ones in prayer. The Catholic Church teaches that our prayers and sacrifices for our deceased helps them in great ways. In fact, Holy Mother Church names praying for the dead as one of the spiritual works of mercy.
During the month of November, the Church invites us to consider our own mortality by reflecting on the Four Last Things - Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell. Likewise, it is also the month the Church specifically designates for us to pray in earnest for our dearly departed loved ones.
And in a world that is quick to implicitly "canonize" the deceased, never has the need been greater. St. Ambrose reminds us, "We have loved them dearly during life, so let us not abandon them until we have conducted them by our prayers into the house of the Lord."
We are told the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the highest form of prayer and the most efficacious prayer we can offer for our dearly departed. What a blessing and privilege it is and what a special opportunity for our loved ones who have preceded us in death!
I am so eager to have Father remember your departed family members and friends that I do NOT want you to delay in getting their names to us. I'll be joining you by remembering my departed parents, Willis and Johnnette Simon, and all whom I have loved and lost. As we pray for them, God will be giving us special blessings as well. St. Thomas Aquinas said, "Of all prayers, the most meritorious, the most acceptable to God are prayers for the dead, because they imply all the works of charity, both corporal and spiritual."
This November, I invite you to give your dearly departed the best gift you can: a Novena of Masses.