Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All Souls Day

Today is All Soul's Day. Its a lesser known Catholic feast day than yesterday ( All Saints Day) but I actually like this one better. As Catholics we don't just have the regular old up and down choices of heaven or hell like some other denominations. We actually have a third option called purgatory. Sounds scary doesn't it? Purgatory is for all those folks who certainly aren't saints yet, but are not quite devils either. It helps to 'purge' the soul of vices so you can be spit spot for that first encounter with Jesus.

Since I am naturally impatient the thought of spending time in this waiting pen of sorts has always tugged at my heart strings. When we were little kids we used to sing this song "Pray for the dead and the dead will pray for you, simply because they have nothing else to do." You see, once you die and get sent to purgatory, you can't make it out of there without help. You can no longer pray for yourself ( so remember to ask God to bless and keep you when you read this) so you must rely on 'good souls' left on earth to help petition Our Lord for you to make it the rest of the way to heaven. (if you make it to purgatory at all, you will eventually make it to heaven so at least you have that going for you- but who knows how long one has to wait to be purged of pride, envy, gluttony, sloth, anger, lust, greed- or any combination therein?

In any case, I really work on All Souls Day to pester Jesus enough to move a few souls along. My children were as intrigued with this thought as I was when I first heard it and spent different parts of the day trying to free up some souls also. Not grumbling-saying a few extra heartfelt prayers-making an offering-lighting a candle. My reasoning is two-fold.

#1 I can imagine the sheer torment of waiting to get into heaven as I can barely wait in line at the grocery store.

#2 I would imagine the souls who make it to heaven based on my prayers might be just a little grateful for that small favor and once they get to heaven are able to show that gratitude by helping me out when I get in trouble. (This is where the whole communion of saints thing weaves together so nicely!)

For all of you who have no faith go ahead and laugh now, OR you could try to picture yourself a few moments AFTER your death. And if you should just so happen to wind up in a waiting line and you could really, really, really use a friend to help you out... who you gonna call?

How do you like me now?

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