I am the Resurrection and the Life… Believest thou this?

English: Jesus at the house of Mary and Martha

We all find it difficult when our friends and family pass from this life to the next. But Jesus understands this, as is illustrated by the Gospel in the Mass on the Day of Burial, when Martha complains to Our Lord that her brother, Lazarus, would have not died if Jesus had been there. Our Lord tells her,

I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me, although he be dead, shall live; and everyone that liveth, and believeth in Me, shall not die for ever. 

He then questions her (and, through this Gospel reading, us):

Believest thou this? 

Martha’s reply is surely our reply too.

Yea, Lord, I have believed that Thou art Christ the Son of the living God, who art come into this world.

And so, today, while I mourn for the passing of a great friend for whose soul I celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass together with my confrère, Fr Charles FSDM, I know that my Redeemer liveth as he is the Resurrection and the Life and that we who believe in him will have eternal life. November is a month full of requiem Masses from the Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed on All Souls’ Day, to Remembrance Day, the daily Masses for the Holy Souls, and also any for the soul of those who pass during at present. However, tonight’s Mass was the first that I celebrated with the intention being the happy repose of the soul of a friend. The first ever. It was humbling but deeply moving.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

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Cluniacs, Dominicans, Pope Benedict XV – a busy day

The Day of the Dead

The Day of the Dead (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today was the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, otherwise known as All Souls’ Day. Immediately following yesterday’s Feast of All Saints, today the Church encourages us to pray for the Faithful Departed. For priests it can be a very busy day – well busier than normal. The opportunity is there to celebrate three Masses:

  1. for the particular intention
  2. for all the Faithful Departed
  3. for the intentions of the Holy Father

We have to thank the Cluniac Order for the date as it was decreed by St Odilo, Abbot of Cluny (died 1048) that special prayers and the Office of the Dead be said for all the souls in Purgatory on 2 November after All Saints’ Day. Soon after it became established in the Calendar of the whole Church.

The three Masses that can be said by any priest was an extension to the universal church of customs that had started with the Dominicans in the fifteenth century. Pope Benedict XV extended it during World War One as a result of the number of war dead and the Masses that could not be said because of destroyed churches.

Rest eternal grant unto them O Lord
And let light perpetual shine upon them.

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