Such a lovely room

Such a lovely room

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

All Souls, All the Faithful Departed

All Souls, 2021
Wisdom 3:1–9
Psalm 130
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18
John 5:24-27

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Today we are celebrating the feast of All Souls, sometimes called All the Faithful Departed.  Before the Reformation, All Souls was a very big deal.  But then Martin Luther and the others decided it was too wrapped up with indulgences and Masses for the dead, and they stamped it out.  Threw out the baby with the bathwater, as it were.

From then on, the Feast of All Souls got kind of melded into All Saints.  In recent times, All Souls has been making a comeback though, and it is distinct from All Saints, which we will celebrate this coming Sunday.  Here’s perhaps a helpful way to distinguish All Saints from All Souls.

All Saints is about the names we know.  And All Souls is about the people we know.  So for All Saints we think of Peter and Paul, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Francis, Julian, Mary Magdalene, and the gospel writers.  For All Souls we focus on our relatives, our mentors, and our friends.  All Saints is for the rock stars; All Souls is for the people we love.  The Rock Stars of the Church are great and all, but these other souls carry us through our lives.

The Saints inspire us, but the faithful departed have fed us, all along the way.  Usually, quite literally fed us.  I love a big celebration as much as anybody, and that’s why All Saints Day is one of my favorite feast days.  But I also want to live and thrive and grow in my faith and love for others, and that’s why All Souls Day inspires me maybe even more.

All Saints Day is about those archaic people who make us think of heaven.  All Souls Day is about the people here on earth, who help us live, and grow in our faith, and become the people God knows we can be.  So, on this day, we honor those whom we love but see no longer.  May they continue to be a blessing in our lives, and in our memories, until the day we are reunited with them into the glorious company of saints in everlasting light.


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