To stand directly before God

All Souls Day

Scripture of the Day: Wisdom 3:1–9

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.

Quote of the Day

I would go so far as to say that if there was no purgatory, then we would have to invent it, for who would dare say of himself that he was able to stand directly before God.  And yet we don’t want to be, to use an image from Scripture, “a pot that turned out wrong,” that has to be thrown away; we want to be able to be put right.

Purgatory basically means that God can put the pieces back together again.  That he can cleanse us in such a way that we are able to be with him and can stand there in the fullness of life.  Purgatory strips off from one person what is unbearable and from another the inability to bear certain things, so that in each of them a pure heart is revealed, and we can see that we all belong together in one enormous symphony of being.

— Pope Benedict XVI, “The Role of Purgatory,” God and the World: Believing and Living in Our Time (Ignatius Press, 2002)

Prayer of the Day

Heavenly Father,
I believe that in Your wisdom and justice
You willed to purify all persons who die
without having attained the state that they need
for all eternity,
all who have still to expiate completely
the sins committed on earth.
I also believe that You have mercifully arranged
that this process of purification can be aided
by the prayers of the living,
and especially by the Eucharist.

Help me to pray for my brothers and sisters
who have departed from this world.
May their time of purification be short
and they be quickly guided into that holy light
promised by our Lord to Abraham and his descendants.
I offer You sacrifices and prayers of praise.
Accept them for all the souls of the faithful departed
and admit them all to the eternal joy of heaven.

— New Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book, #1348 (Catholic Book Publishing)

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