Thursday, 2 November 2017

Remembering our loved ones

Addolorata Cemetery in Malta with many marble tombstones
The celebration of All Souls follows that of All Saints. Today thousands of people visit cemeteries to pay their last respects towards their loved ones. In Malta in particular, families decorate tombstones with flowers, candles and photos. They offer Masses for the deceased and memorialize them with notices in the newspapers, especially on their anniversaries. The celebration for All Souls started in the 11th century when St Odilo, an abbot in the Monastery at Cluny chose the day after All Saints to memorialize the dead friars of his order and all Benedictines. From then on the celebration for all the souls in purgatory was held on November 2. Let us pray especially today for those who have left us this year, and let us also pray for their loved ones. Eternal rest grant unto them o Lord, and may the perpetual light shine on them.
A bronze tomb by Gregorio Zappala in the same cemetery.
We seem to give them back to you, Lord, you who gave them to us. We treasured them as long as we had them among us. Now, following their example, we will imitate them, and pray that others will also follow their example. Yet, as we did not lose them in giving, so we do not lose them by their return from us to You. We became richer because they lived among us. But we did not become impoverished when we lost them. Our loss is your gain, o Lord. And we know that life is eternal, and Love is immortal. And death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing but the limit of our own sight. Our perspective is only limited. But with You, o Lord, there is not limit. Lift us up strong Son of God, that we may see further. Cleanse our eyes that we may see more clearly. Draw us close to yourself that we may know ourselves to be nearer to our Loved Ones, who are now with You in heaven.

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