Laudetur Jesus Christus!
Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!
Praised be Jesus Christ!
The Church has always understood itself to be divided into three integral sections, the Church Triumphant, the Church Militant, and the Church Suffering. The Church here on earth is known as the Church Militant, the Church at struggle to live in a place where we are only pilgrims, for our true homeland is in Paradise. These next two days, however, we recall in a very real way the other two parts of the Church, the Church Triumphant in Heaven and the Church Suffering in Purgatory.
Today, All Saints Day, we recall the Church Triumphant, remembering all of those holy men and women, the Saints of God, who have gone before. We recall especially the silent saints among us, who may not have done anything grand in life to catch the notice of a lot of people, but those who did serve God and the Church faithfully in their everyday life. While everyone is called to be a saint, only a few hand-chosen ones are called to do something great for the Church. Today we recall those whose greatness is found in simplicity and quietness.
Tomorrow, All Souls Day, we will recall the Church Suffering, remembering all of the holy souls in Purgatory. Purgatory is a place created for us by a merciful God who knew that our consciences would not allow us to stand before His throne with even the slightest imperfection. Even without the stain of mortal sin, any imperfection makes our souls uneasy about standing before God. It is our own consciences that refuse to allow us to do so out of humility and shame for our faults that we were unable to overcome in this life. For those who do not work out their slight imperfections in this life, we have that opportunity in Purgatory. The souls for whom we have the obligation to pray. This year we especially remember the souls of Donald Holtmeier, Elizabeth Reinirkens, Elliot Horstman, Blair Duechle, Bill Wilson, and Rose Wehner. All of those parishioners who have gone before us this past year.
In the Second Book of Maccabees, we are told: “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” Taking her inspiration from this Old Testament text, the Church has always held it to be important for us to pray for the faithful departed. At each Mass, and especially on November 2, the Church gathers to offer prayers for all of our family members and friends who “have gone before us with the sign of faith,” as we are told in the Mass.
It is truly an act of charity on our part to pray for the holy souls in Purgatory. If we do not, who will pray for them? I encourage everyone to pray daily for the souls of their beloved and also for all of our departed parishoners. In addition to this, I also encourage everyone to pray for those souls that have no one else to pray for them. On that blessed day when we hopefully enter the Kingdom of Heaven, together with our family and friends, these faithful souls will be at the gates of Heaven to give us welcome for assisting them in entering the Heavenly homeland.