All Saints Day.
All ye Holy Saints, Ora pro nobis.
All Saints and All Souls.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
All Saints and All Souls.
OF all the sublime truths which it is the pride and happiness of Christians to believe, none is more beautiful, more consoling than that of the Communion of Saints. Do we fully realize the meaning of that particular article of our faith? From their earliest infancy Christian children repeat, at their mother’s knee, “I believe in the Communion of Saints;” but it is only when the mind has attained a certain stage of development that they begin to feel the inestimable privilege of being in the Communion of Saints.
But how sad to think that even in later life many of those whose childhood lisped “I believe in the Communion of Saints,” neither know, nor care to know, what it means. Outside the Church who believes in the Communion of Saints?—-who rejoices in the glory of the glorified, or invokes their intercession with God? Who believes in that state of probation whereby the earth-stains are washed from the souls of men? Who has compassion on “the spirits who are in prison?” To Catholics only is the Communion of Saints a reality, a soul-rejoicing truth. How inestimable is the privilege of being truly and indeed “of the household of faith,”—within and of “the Church of the Saints,” the Church that alone connects the life which is and that which is to come, the living and the dead !
Year by year we are reminded of this truth, so solemn and so beautiful, the Communion of Saints, by the double festival of All Saints and All Souls—when the Church invites her children of the Militant Church to rejoice with her on the glory of her Saints, and to pray with her for the holy dead who are still in the purgatorial fire that is to prepare them for that blessed abode into which “nothing defiled can enter.”
Grand and joyous is the feast of the Saints, when we lovingly honor all our brethren who have gained their thrones in Heaven, and with faith and hope invoke their powerful aid, that we, too, may come where they are, and be partakers in their eternal blessedness; solemn and sad, but most sweetly soothing to the heart of faith, is the day of All Souls, when the altars are draped in black, and the chant is mournful, and sacrifice is offered, the whole world over, for the dead who have slept in Christ, with the blessing of the Church upon them. For them, if they still have need of succor, are all the good works of the faithful offered up, and the prayers of all the Saints and all the Angels invoked, not only on the second day of November, but on every day of that mournful month.
Thus do we, who are still on earth, honor the glorified Saints of God, and invoke them for ourselves and for the blessed souls who may yet be debarred from the joys of Heaven. And this is truly the Communion of Saints the Church on earth, the Church in Heaven, the Church in Purgatory, distinct, yet united, the children of one common Father, who is God; of one common Mother, who is Mary, the Virgin ever Blessed.
Archbishop of New York.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
November Devotion: The Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Virtues to practice: Charity and kindness.
Most loving Jesus, I humbly beseech Thee, that Thou Thyself wouldst offer to Thine eternal Father in behalf of the Holy Souls in purgatory, the Most Precious Blood which poured forth from the sacred wounds of Thine adorable Body, together with Thine agony and death. And do thou likewise, O sorrowful Virgin Mary, present unto Him, together with the dolorous Passion of thy dear Son, thine own sighs and tears, and all the sorrows thou didst suffer in His suffering, in order that, through the merits of the same, refreshment may be granted to the souls now suffering in the fiery torments of purgatory, so that, being delivered from that painful prison, they may be clothed with glory in heaven, there to sing the mercies of God for ever and ever. Amen.
Absolve, O Lord, the souls of all the faithful departed from every bond of sin, that with Thy gracious assistance they may deserve to escape the judgment of vengeance and enjoy the blessedness of everlasting light.
V. Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
V. From the gates of hell,
R. Deliver their souls, O Lord.
V. May they rest in peace.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
Let us pray.
O, God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful; grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids the remission of all their sins: that through our devout supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
Eternal rest, etc.
An indulgence of 3 years. A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if these prayers are said daily for a month (S. C. md., Sept. 15, 1888; S. P. Ap., April 25, 1934).
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