All Souls’ Day

Download MP3

Download PDF

NOTE: Optional reading for the day.

Lam 3,17-26

I have been deprived of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is and thought, ‘My lasting hope in Yahweh is lost.’ Bring to mind my misery and anguish; it is wormwood and gall! My heart dwells on this continually and sinks within me. This is what I shall keep in mind and so regain some hope: Surely Yahweh’s mercies are not over, his deeds of faithful love not exhausted; every morning they are renewed; great is his faithfulness! ‘Yahweh is all I have,’ I say to myself, ‘and so I shall put my hope in him.’ Yahweh is good to those who trust him, to all who search for him. It is good to wait in silence for Yahweh to save.

The Church takes this text as a reading for the day when we remember the dead! Does it describe the state of souls who are still waiting for their final return to God? In any case, the text makes us think of a believer who is in inner distress and whose soul is restless!

We know in faith that those who have not responded sufficiently to the love of God in their lives will still be purified after death! All that they have done in their lives, preferring other things to God, has prevented them from being so permeated by the love of God that union with God could be accomplished! The union with God is perfect in eternity; nothing can last in us that still separates us from the love of God!

At the moment of death the soul sees itself through the eyes of God! It perceives its condition painfully! One could say: it is voluntarily prepared to undergo the necessary cleansing because it knows that it cannot respond appropriately to the love of God!

In addition to her great pain, however, she also feels hope, because she knows that she is not condemned, that she does not have to live forever outside the grace of the Lord!

We could read this double condition of the soul from the text! In the soul’s turning away from God, which it fully recognises and deeply regrets after death, there are elements such as peacelessness, restlessness, unhappiness, loss of trust and all this darkens the soul, it becomes like homeless! Of course, this is also found in a soul even before death! The difference is, however, that the soul after death recognises this quite clearly, whereas people on earth, when they perceive this state within themselves, often do not associate this with turning away from God and therefore do not find the right solution to repent.

The remedy is the same! In the state of darkness one should not deal with this abyss within oneself and remain in the tribulation! The text says very well that this is wormwood and poison, and thus gives us all an immensely valuable piece of advice! We will not solve the problems if we bury ourselves in them! Instead, we turn to the Lord and hope in Him, each morning anew!

This is especially true for the soul in the place of purification, because it can no longer do anything for itself, but it can pray for others! It is dependent on help: as always on the grace of the Lord, but also on help from the Church, his body! Our prayers and acts of love can help the deceased to pass the time of their purification more quickly, because we are united in a community of love in the one church! They belong to the suffering church, while we, as a militant church, can pray for the deceased, for example, daily in the Angelus, which is a great work of spiritual mercy!

In the month of November, prayer for the deceased is recommended; there are some private revelations which especially recommend the Hail Mary and promise that through our prayer many souls can be helped! We should not fail to do so, because the deceased in a state of purification really suffer from the fact that they are not yet fully united with the Lord and are very grateful for our help!