Saturday, November 5, 2011

All Saints, All Souls

The Church celebrated the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls this week; some Christians find this strange and wrong. They think that asking the intercession of the saints is unnecessary at best and idolatrous at worst. The same thing applies, for them, to prayers for the departed.

They believe that the dead, saintly or otherwise, are sleeping "under the heavenly altar" and even if they weren't their prayers are redundant because Christ is the "only mediator" between man and God.

But what about the two great Jewish Saints, Moses and Elijah, who talked with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration? They weren't sleep-talking now, were they. Neither are any of the holy men and women who have left this life for the next, and so we ask for their prayers just as we would ask the same from a holy person here on earth. This doesn't detract from Our Lord's mediation but reinforces it.

Likewise for the departed, we pray for them as we would for anyone else. Idolatry? Hardly and don't get me wrong, I'm not some kind of comsymp lefty, but perhaps we need to look elsewhere for the Golden Calf of our troubled age - money, perhaps.

Jean Vianney
Jean Vianney, the Cure D'Ars, is the Patron Saint of parish priests. He abhorred dancing, which was a problem in rural France, and lead a life of remarkable austerity, eating little more than a potato a day. Vianney was often afflicted by Satan, who would drag his bed across the room while shouting "old potato eater!" Hundreds of thousands of people traveled to Ars to make their confession to him. A remarkable man who worked out his salvation in the fear and trembling proscribed by St. Paul.

Saints intercede for us. Faithful souls, rest in peace.



Teresa said...

Great post, LSP! It is very important that we pray for the souls of those who have departed from this life.

LSP said...

Thanks Teresa - it saddens me that Christians of otherwise good integrity would miss out on this important dimension of the spiritual life. The more prayer the better, I think.