Why pray for the departed on All Souls,’ Saints’ Days

By Ador Vincent S. Mayol October 31,2017

You may no longer see them.

But one can still keep in touch with the departed beloved anytime, anywhere.

The medium is prayer, said Msgr. Joseph Tan, media liaison officer of the Archdiocese of Cebu.

He encouraged the faithful to spend time in prayer as they observe All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1 and All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2.

“There is a dimension in our life other than what we see on earth, other than the visible and the obvious. Our relationship with one another extends all the way to the afterlife. We actually have the capacity to help each other. We pray for them without cease while they aid us through prayers,” said Tan.

Catholic doctrine situates the Church of Jesus Christ in three realities: Church Triumphant (souls in heaven including martyrs and saints), the Church Suffering (souls in purgatory) and the Church Militant (the living).

“All Saints’ Day is the feast of the Church Triumphant which includes those who were not canonized by the church yet were faithful to God in their lifetime,” he said.

All Souls’ Day, on the other hand, is for the souls in purgatory who still need further cleansing. They form part of the Church Suffering.
Purgatory is a place for purification of those who die in a state of grace.

“There are souls who have not properly atoned for their shortcomings. Even if they fought a good fight, there are still traces of sins that need purification. We pray for these suffering souls,” Tan said.

The living ask the intercession of saints, while the saints, together with the souls in purgatory, pray for the living otherwise known as the Church Militant.

The interplay of all three is a relationship known as the “communion of saints” which is mentioned in the Apostle’s Creed.

“Together we form a bond of unity with the sacred,” Tan said.

Those who visit cemeteries this weekend and pray for the dead on the first eight days of November can merit a plenary indulgence granted by the church for absolution of one’s sins.

The believer must be in a state of grace which means he or she went to confession, attended Mass, and prayed the “Our Father,” one “Hail Mary,” and one “Glory Be” for the intention of the church and the pope.

Masses will be celebrated in cemeteries and churches on Nov. 1 and 2.

Tan said the celebration should also remind the faithful that life does not end with death.

“I want to emphasize what we call life after death. Our life here on earth is actually a preparation of the afterlife. Since life is given as a gift, we are accountable before the author of life. We shall answer before God on how we used it for the good,” he said.

“Man, in the innermost recesses of his heart, knows that his life here on earth is too short for him to exhaust the gift of life. It can only be fully exhausted if placed in the context of how God intended it to be, and that is to be with Him forever in heaven,” he added.

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