The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)
Today let us reflect upon the final words of Tuesday’s Call of Christ the King: “…therefore, whoever would like to come with Me is to labor with Me, that following Me in the pain, he may also follow Me in the glory…”
If we follow Him faithfully, if we serve Him well, endeavoring to do all things for love of Him—even seeking forgiveness when we fail not for fear of punishment but because we love Him—then we need not fear being locked out when the gate of that Kingdom is closed for the great feast. Why?
“And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day.” Our task is to lose our entire self—even our own will, as Jesus says He has surrendered His own—that in letting go of ourselves, Christ’s hold upon us might be all the firmer. For we were given to Him by God (John 17:24), by the Father who knows how to give good gifts (Mt. 7:11); as long as we do not wrest ourselves from Him to whom we truly belong, we shall not be lost. Rather, at the end of our labors we shall be raised up to dwell in the very Kingdom which we helped build, by the grace of God.
It is this final, glorious, and beautiful vision we celebrate today; not merely a Catholic Memorial Day, for we have a moment for this at every Mass, built into the Eucharistic Prayer. Today ought not to be solely somber, especially considering the glorious feast held the day before! Rather we remember the souls of those who share the lot of the saints in light (Col. 1:12), who now enjoy their rest after a lifetime of faithful service. Now they prepare a place for us, cheering us on from atop the walls, encouraging us by their prayers. We ought to look forward to the day when we, too, are counted among their vast number, when today is our feast day, when the King we sought in all humility to serve with the generosity and love of which He is so worthy, says to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant…come, and share in your master’s joy.” (Mt. 25:21)
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.