I know some people don’t believe in praying for the dead and that’s too bad. Someday they’ll no doubt be wishing people would pray for them. I pray for the dead all the time, and I pray someone will remember me when I’m gone and pray for the repose of my soul.
Hell is not empty, but neither is Heaven and to despair of Heaven would be a sin. But while Jesus did die for our sins, it doesn’t mean we can just do whatever we want and expect to arrive at the pearly gates untainted by the ways of the world. If we truly meet Jesus Christ and are transformed by him in the very depths of our being – then our lives have to reflect that change.
On the other hand, Jesus did say to the good thief – “This day you will be with me in paradise.” Which of course can easily be more properly translated as “I tell you this day – you will be with me in paradise.” Which is different. There’s only so much we as humans can do, and we have to rely on God’s good graces for the rest. It’s amazing to think about. God, the almighty creator of the universe, wants me to be with him for all of eternity. And you.
The Father’s house has many rooms and there are some people whose rooms I hope are very far away from mine. But that’s just the thing! It’s so easy to get mired down in being awfully human when we need to be lifting our minds to the noble things in life. All that is pure, all that is holy, all that is just. Keep your minds on these things, not on the miserable absurd creatures who fill us with such contempt.
Wash me clean O Lord and in your might and power create my heart always anew, in love for you. Make me a pure follower of your ways, and temper my passionate spirit. And while you’re at it, please renew your Church. Any day now would be absolutely fine. Love for Jesus Christ is spreading through the world like a fire, and your Church is ever more revealed as a source of corruption and filth. You founded it. You called us into it. Bash the evil into dust, throw open wide the doors to let your light shine out to all the world, to the glory of your Holy Name. You will not be mocked, our hope is not in vain, and you will be glorified.
Well how I do go on.
On this fine Feast of All Souls, an epistle and a chant.
“Brethren: Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall all indeed rise, but we shall not all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise incorruptible and we shall be changed. For this corruptible body must put on incorruption, and this mortal body must put on immortality. But when this mortal body put on immortality, then shall come to pass the word that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory! O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God Who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:51-57
I’m kind of Dies Irae’d out – I love it and it’s one of my favorite chants. It’s just all over the place these days, and it’s difficult to find a version I truly love. Though they do exist.
So. The In Paradisum.
In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.
“May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your arrival and lead you to the holy city Jerusalem. May choirs of angels receive you and with Lazarus, once (a) poor (man), may you have eternal rest.”
May the divine assistance remain always with us, and may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.