Today is a good reminder to pray for all our family and friends who have passed away. It is through our prayers that we help the faithful departed to be released from Purgatory.
There is a special indulgence prayer attached to All Souls Day, for visiting a church or for visiting a cemetery. (The plenary indulgence for visiting a cemetery can also be obtained every day from November 1-8, and, as a partial indulgence, on any day of the year.)
This morning I went to visit the grave of my cousin who died last year at the age of 22. His death was very sudden and I can’t tell you the amount of sadness that we all felt at such a young death.
As I stood over his grave praying for his soul I was flooded with grief and guilt. I talked to my cousin and told him that I was sorry for the pain he felt during his life, I was sorry that I wasn’t there for him more often and that I miss him every day.
Our God is no stranger to these emotions. He felt sadness, especially when he grieved the death of his friend Lazarus. He knows the pain in our hearts: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21-23).
I ask the same questions, “Lord, why did you let him die? What good can come of such sadness?”
In the silence, I hear a quiet voice tell me: “Your brother will rise.”
I can’t imagine dealing with this grief without God and without family. But it is tragedies like this that make us cling to God and his mercy.
I share this story to help others who may be going through the same pain and to remind you that God is present and carrying the cross with you. Our family has been praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for my cousin’s soul. I’ve been praying it every day and it brings me such consolation.
Today I encourage you to pray for all the faithful departed and if you can, visit a cemetery and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions. If you aren’t able to make a visit, then here is a simple prayer that you can offer for the Holy Souls:
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.