The Holy Souls

Over the last few weeks we have been looking at various issues regarding the month of November as the month during which we pray for those who have died.  We have memorial books on display in our churches in which the names of our dead are recorded.  These also stimulate our memory and our prayer.

Often the way in which Purgatory was imaged was one of grave suffering.  This was at times used by preachers to frighten people away from sin.  The image of fire was often taken literally and some preachers enjoyed elaborating the possibilities of the terrible suffering involved.

We have seen before that the image of the completion of the journey to God was a more original way of conceiving the conversion we all are already embarked upon.

St Thomas Aquinas suggests in an imaginative way that our worst day in Purgatory is better than our best day on earth.  This is his imaginative way of stressing the positivity of the conversion and purification we are completing.  His reason for this statement is that the ‘holy souls’ have already glimpsed what awaits them.

We continue to pray for those who have died since we, and they, are on the same journey to the Lord, we are just on different stages of it.  We still live in communion with them and so it is most especially significant that we remember them at Mass.  It is at Mass that we enter into communion again with Christ and with all of those who are in communion with him.  In the Eucharist we celebrate the shadow of that joy-filled communion with God which we shall all enjoy in the future.

By Fr Frank O’Loughlin



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