Happy All Souls’ Day!

by Kevin Birnbaum

The Day of the Dead by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)

This painting makes All Souls’ Day, when the Church remembers and prays for all the souls in purgatory, seem rather bleak and somber. But when I die, if I find myself in purgatory, I think it will be the happiest moment of my existence to that point, no matter how painful the experience might be. Because I’ll know I’m on my way to heaven, to an eternity of unimaginable joy in the presence of God. So let us pray the holy souls on their way, and pray for ourselves that we might one day be where they are.

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
they shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect. (Wis 3:1-9)