Days of Christian reflection
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Now we have All Saints’ Day. But we must also remember the second holiday, the liturgical remembrance of All Souls, announced by the Church to help especially those suffer in purgatory so that they can rejoice in heaven as soon as possible. Through this holiday the Church mobilises us to remember our neighbours and to bring them concrete help, which is prayer. In some sense we all aspire to salvation but it is God that gives the grace of salvation. People allow him to do so by adjusting their lives to his commandments, especially the commandment of love and by following his Son. And Jesus Christ shows that in fact a man of God does not die but has eternal life. So these are the most joyful news, full of hope, which people experience around the serious and meditative days of All Saints and All Souls. We go to the funerals of our dearest, friends and acquaintances. And regardless of whether we go in a funeral procession after the coffin with the mortal body or, more and more frequently, after an urn with the ashes, we think about our destiny and sense of our lives. We notice that no matter whether this life was poor or rich, grey and hard-working, colourful and easy, there comes the moment of the cross of age and disease together with physical suffering, and finally, man leaves his family and leaves this world for ever. We forget about this in our daily striving, excited about temporary small objectives but the Holy Father John Paul II always focused on that, showing how man should live his life. John Paul II also saw that there were many unique individuals in the Church that should be called blessed and saints. As a pope he conducted the biggest number of beatifications and canonisations. But there are also hosts of Christians dying at every hour, minute and second who stand before God, and he receives them into his glory although they are not beatified and canonised. We have numerous holy Christians living in God’s presence and friendship with the Saviour. Such people do a lot of good since God is in a way their second nature. All Saints’ Day embraces them, too. St John says about them, ‘I saw a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands’ (cf. Revelation 7:9). The best form to be united with God for us is the Eucharist, all sacraments and also inner acts: prayer, true repentance for one’s sins. They lead man to the great family of God, so they make man not feel sad and his prayer, connected with the prayer of others, has its power and strength – ‘For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them’ (Matthew 18:20). We must realise that we are God’s children, that God loves us all and he did his best so that man feels a child of God: through Jesus Christ he took our nature and became our brother and through the action of the Holy Spirit he sanctifies mankind and every single man, he can see his inner life. Therefore, we are not lonely islands but are immersed in the inner life of God, surrounded by his love, marked by the blood of Christ and swept by the Holy Spirit. The Trinitarian life of God is translated into his Trinitarian action. This is an important truth of faith that we should profess when we go to cemeteries on All Saints’ Day. Christians believe that they do not die completely, that at the moment of their deaths their lives are transformed but do not end – as the Preface of the Dead say. That’s why we realise that those who rest in cemeteries live in God who intended certain conditions for them and we, believing in the communion of saints, feel their presence, ask them to support us and pray for God’s graces for us. Since according to our faith death does not break our relationship with our dearest but it strengthens it. Christians should not experience All Saints’ Day in the mood of nothingness or only remembrance of the dead but in the spirit of faith, that those who passed away abide in the everlasting light of God.