The Feast of All Souls Day


When we die, our souls will end up in one of two places, right. Heaven or Hell. November 1st is the day when the Church honors, remembers and celebrates those people who have made it to the beatific vision of heaven as their final destination. In doing so, they have become Saints. But what about the following day, November 2nd, which is the feast of “All Souls Day?” What does this day refer to?
The feast of “All Souls Day” is a day where the Church focus’ on those souls that have died in the friendship of the Lord, those who have the assurance of salvation, but have not been perfectly cleansed from venial sin, or those imperfections that still remain on their souls. Even though they have been forgiven of all their sins, they still may be have some attachment to self love. And before we come face to face with God, we must be purged. The Church simply calls this state of being, “Purgatory.” Purgatory simply means “purging.”
So, why does the Church use the word Purgatory, when that word is not in the bible? Well, the word “incarnation” is also not found in the Bible, but it describes the reality of God coming to us in the flesh. What about the word “Trinity?” It also is not found in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not one. Trinity is a word the Church uses to describe this reality. Purgatory is simply the name given for the reality of a purification process the soul goes through before entering into the full presence of the Lord. For instance, we know from the book of Revelation that, “nothing unclean will enter [heaven](Rev. 21:27).” The writer from Hebrews says, “Strive…for that holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”
If we look to St. Paul, he gives us a description of how we are to be tested and then purged. He tells us that, when we are judged, each man’s work will be tried. And what happens if a righteous man’s work fails the test? “He will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:15). Now this loss, this penalty, can’t refer to consignment to hell, since no one is saved there; and heaven can’t be meant, since there is no suffering (“fire”) there. So, where is this state of being that St. Paul speaks of? Well, again , the Church simply calls it Purgatory. Now, how long does this process lasts, well, that’s something we don’t know. It could be as quick as the blink of an eye. We just don’t know.
For a more detailed explanation of “purgatory,” you can go to my post entitled, “Does Purgatory Really Exist?”:
On the feast of “All Souls Day,” the Church continues to assist all those souls who are members of the body of Christ, but who are going through that final purification before entering the presence of God, by offering up prayers for them through the sacrifice of the mass. You and I can assist them every day by praying for them by name, especially our loved ones who have passed on.
But, you might be asking yourself, “What happens to those prayers if the person is in hell? Will it do them any good? And what about the prayers for a soul who is in heaven? They don’t need them because they are already in heaven.” Well, God will take those prayers and apply them to those who need them. Especially those souls who has no one praying for them.
Until next time, God bless.

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