It’s not very pleasant to think about death.
If we were not people of faith, recalling our departed loved ones would bring us nothing but sadness. We’d see their passing as “affliction” and “utter destruction” (Wisdom 3:2-3). There would be nothing beyond this life to offer us any consolation and encouragement—all we could really say is, “When you’re dead, you’re dead!”
But as Christians, we know that such an attitude has no place in our hearts. Especially today, on this feast of All Souls, God is inviting us to put aside sadness and share in his joy. As today’s first reading tells us, all those who have left this world in the friendship of God are in the hands of a loving Father. Sorrow and tears can no longer touch them; they are at peace now because all their questions have been answered, and they can live with Jesus forever.
Don’t let this day pass by as just another feast day! Take a moment to remember your friends, family members, and acquaintances who are no longer with you. If you can, try making a list of their names, and recall all the things you loved about each of them. Recall the kindnesses they showed you, and the times you laughed and cried together.
What we are reminded of today is that those who are already in the eternal presence of God and those who are still on pilgrimage on earth can help the group we call ‘Holy Souls’ to reach the Vision of God sooner through our good works and prayers. And so, although it is a “holy and wholesome thought to prayer for the dead”, it is especially appropriate on this day. Naturally, we will remember especially family members and good friends but we should also think of those who may not have anyone to remember them.
When our time comes to leave this world, it is the prayers of those people on whom we will depend.