Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Eternal rest, grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them

Purgatory shows God’s great mercy and washes away the defects of those who long to become one with Him. - Saint Josemaria Escriva

(John 6:37-40): Jesus said to the crowds:
"Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
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.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day."

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated: "In a word, you must be made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5:48). We must be "perfect in holiness...irreproachable at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thes 5:23). The Lord commands us: "Become holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, after the likeness of the Holy One Who called you" (1 Pt 1:15). Without perfect holiness, we cannot "see the Lord" and be with Him forever in heaven (Heb 12:14).

After we have been baptized and have given our lives to Jesus as our Lord, Savior, and God, we begin walking "the road to holiness" (2 Pt 2:21). This is a long road, and sometimes we do not fully accept God's grace to become perfectly holy. If we die without complete holiness, the Lord will have mercy on us whom He has saved. He will give us time after death to complete our purification and growth in holiness. Although it is much better to do our purgatory of reparation, purification, and transformation before our deaths, the Lord gives hope and mercy to those not completely sanctified before death.

This feast day (All Souls Day) is one of the most loving celebrations in all the Church's liturgy. It is the day that we especially remember all the faithful departed-those who have passed from this life into the next. We don't know how long a particular individual who dies spends in purgatory. However, we do know that purgatory is real.

Purgatory shows that the Lord insists on our holiness, graces us to become holy, has mercy on us, and gives us hope.

Today we stop to remember all who have died. We especially pray for those who were related to us. We pray for those who taught us good things. We pray for those who made sacrifices for us. We pray for those who prayed for us while they were on this earth. We pray for the most forgotten souls. We pray for those who had great responsibilities while they were on earth.

We think of those holy souls in purgatory and we realize that they are saved. Now they wait, being purified, until the moment when they can be with God, face to face. We can pray for the souls in purgatory and hasten their journey to God.

May they rest in peace. Amen.

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