REFLECTION FOR THE THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C), Week beginning 30TH OCTOBER 2022
The opening 2 days of November are very closely linked indeed. November 1st is ALL SAINTS. November 2nd is ALL SOULS. On the 1st, our focus is upon Heaven; on the 2nd, it is upon Purgatory. In the Apostles’ Creed, the shorter of our two Creeds, reference is included there to the Communion of Saints – this points to the fullness of the Church. It comprises those in Heaven (the Church Triumphant), those in Purgatory (the Church Suffering) and believers in Jesus Christ here on earth (the Church Militant); it is these that constitute the Body of Christ, the Church in its very entirety. These 2 days light up November, the month of the Holy Souls of the Faithful Departed – the month dedicated to the Souls in Purgatory. Of course, it would be scarcely logical to merely pray for them in November, and then forget about them till the next November. (Rather, having a set month for prayer on their behalf indicates that we should pray for them all year). The souls in Purgatory are holy because they are saved – their eventual destiny is assured – meanwhile, they must undergo purification in Purgatory. They need to receive more light into themselves, to be purified (purgated) by fire. When God the Father, and He alone, decides that their cleansing has been sufficient, each will in their singular turn, be called into Heaven. There they will be eternally captivated by the sheer wonder of the Beatific Vision – the sight of the Face of God which lights up the whole of eternity. For now, in our turn, let us ever pray for the souls in Purgatory. They can do nothing to help themselves. One ‘day’, from Heaven, they may then indeed pray for us.