WISDOM 3: 1 – 9c
The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be an affliction, and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace. For though in the sight of men they were punished, their hope is full of immortality. Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them. In the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble. They will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them for ever. Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his elect.
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 23: 1 – 3, 4, 5, 6 (R.) 1
R/. The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.
The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me;
he revives my soul.
‘He guides me along the right path,
for the sake of his name. R/.
Though I should walk in the valley of the shadow of death,
no evil would I fear, for you are with me.
Your crook and your staff will give me comfort. R/.
You have prepared a table before me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing. R/.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for length of days unending. R/.
“Since we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
ROMANS 5: 5 – 11_
Brethren: Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. While we were yet helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man— though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
The Word of the Lord.
Matthew 11: 25
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.
MATTHEW 25: 31 – 46
At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. “Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ “Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
REFLECTION: The Holy Souls in Purgatory
Wednesday, November 2, 2022 Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day)
As we celebrate the Commemoration of All Souls, let’s reflect upon our Church teaching on Purgatory. The following excerpt is from Chapter 8 of My Catholic Faith!:
The Church Suffering: Purgatory is an often misunderstood doctrine of our Church. What is Purgatory? Is it the place we have to go to be punished for our sins? Is it God’s way of getting us back for the wrong we’ve done? Is it the result of God’s anger? None of these questions really answer the question of Purgatory. Purgatory is nothing other than the burning and purifying love of our God in our lives!
When someone dies in God’s grace they are most likely not 100% converted and perfect in every way. Even the greatest of saints most often would have some imperfection left in their lives. Purgatory is nothing other than that final purification of all remaining attachment to sin in our lives. By analogy, imagine that you had a cup of 100% pure water, pure H2O. This cup will represent Heaven. Now imagine that you want to add to that cup of water but all you have is water that is 99% pure. This will represent the holy person who dies with just some slight attachments to sin. If you add that water to your cup then the cup will now have at least some impurities in the water as it mixes together. The problem is that Heaven (the original cup of 100% H2O) cannot contain any impurities. Heaven, in this case, cannot have even the slightest attachment to sin in it. Therefore, if this new water (the 99% pure water) is to be added to the cup it must first be purified even of that last 1% of impurities (attachments to sin). This is ideally done while we are on Earth. This is the process of getting holy. But if we die with any attachment, then we simply say that the process of entering into the final and full vision of God in Heaven will purify us of any remaining attachment to sin. All may already be forgiven, but we may not have detached from those things forgiven. Purgatory is the process, after death, of burning out the last of our attachments so that we can enter Heaven 100% freed of everything to do with sin. If, for example, we still have a bad habit of being rude, or sarcastic, even those tendencies and habits must be purged.
How does this happen? We do not know. We only know it does. But we also know it’s the result of God’s infinite love that frees us of these attachments. Is it painful? Most likely. But it’s painful in the sense that letting go of any disordered attachment is painful. It’s hard to break a bad habit. It’s even painful in the process. But the end result of true freedom is worth any pain we may have experienced. So, yes, Purgatory is painful. But it’s a sort of sweet pain that we need and it produces the end result of a person 100% in union with God.
Now since we are talking about the Communion of Saints, we also want to make sure to understand that those going through this final purification are still in communion with God, with those members of the Church on Earth, and with those in Heaven. For example, we are called to pray for those in Purgatory. Our prayers are effective. God uses those prayers, which are acts of our love, as instruments of His grace of purification. He allows us and invites us to participate in their final purification by our prayers and sacrifices. This forges a bond of union with them. And no doubt the saints in Heaven especially offer prayers for those in this final purification as they await full communion with them in Heaven. It’s a glorious thought and a joy to see how God has orchestrated this entire process for the ultimate purpose of the holy communion to which we are called!
Lord, I pray for those souls going through their final purification in Purgatory. Please pour forth Your mercy upon them so that they may be freed of all attachment to sin and, thus, be prepared to see You face to face. Jesus, I trust in You.