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All Souls Day

2010 November 1
by Gordon Reid

I once heard a sermon where the priest said that whenever the name of someone departed was read in a Mass, if they were in the fires of Purgatory they would, for a moment, feel as if they were in a cool, cleansing shower.

I wondered then, and wonder now, how he became so intimate with the plumbing arrangements of the Afterlife.

But I am sure that whenever we remember someone in a Requiem Mass it has an effect. Can you imagine the joy of a parent when a child remembers them? Or the deep contentment of a departed husband or wife when their partner murmurs their name to God?

Tomorrow evening, All Souls Day, a thick bundle of papers will be laid on the altars of St Clement’s when the Requiems are celebrated. They will  be the lists of the names of loved ones departed which members of the congregation have written, so that they may be remembered in a special way on this “Day of the Dead”. Not claiming to know the exact arrangements in the life to come, I will do  no more than assert  that God will use these prayers for the good of those prayed for, and I’m content to leave it at that.

I know too, that whatever good it does our dear beloved dead, it does us immense good to bring to mind our communion with them, especially in the Mass. So I hope we will not just write the lists to be placed on the altar, but will also be there to offer Christ’s sacrifice for them and for ourselves.

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