Month: October 2014

Approaching All Saints & All Souls

In the southern hemisphere we have  blazing sunshine and roses out in profusion, but all the same we are coming to The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed which this year falls on a Sunday.

In the middle of the 11th century, St. Odilo, abbot of Cluny, France, decreed that all Cluniac monasteries offer special prayers and sing the Office for the Dead on November 2, the day after the feast of All Saints. The custom spread from Cluny and was finally adopted throughout the Roman Church.

The theological underpinning of the feast is the acknowledgment of human frailty. Since few people achieve perfection in this life but, rather, go to the grave still scarred with traces of sinfulness, some period of purification seems necessary before a soul comes face-to-face with God. The Council of Trent affirmed this purgatory state and insisted that the prayers of the living can speed the process of purification.

 

A special prayer this year for my old Latin teacher Miss TL who first lent me books on Catholic teachings and the lives of the saints. She died last month and is greatly missed.

 

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

 

In Paradisum Deducant Te Angeli

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That the Father’s help may not pass from us

On the Lord’s Prayer from St Augustine of Hippo

 

This excerpt from Augustine’s letter to Proba on the Our Father or Lord’s Prayer is used in the Roman Office of Readings for Tuesday of the 29th week in ordinary time.

We need to use words so that we may remind ourselves to consider carefully what we are asking, not so that we may think we can instruct the Lord or prevail on him. Thus, when we say: Hallowed be your name, we are reminding ourselves to desire that his name, which in fact is always holy, should also be considered holy among men. I mean that it should not be held in contempt. But this is a help for men, not for God. And as for our saying: Your kingdom come, it will surely come whether we will it or not. But we are stirring up our desires for the kingdom so that it can come to us and we can deserve to reign there.

When we say: Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are asking him to make us obedient so that his will may be done in us as it is done in heaven by his angels. When we say: Give us this day our daily bread, in saying this day we mean “in this world”. Here we ask for a sufficiency by specifying the most important part of it; that is, we use the word “bread” to stand for everything. Or else we are asking for the sacrament of the faithful, which is necessary in this world, not to gain temporal happiness but to gain the happiness that is everlasting.

When we say: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, we are reminding ourselves of what we must ask and what we must do in order to be worthy in turn to receive. When we say: Lead us not into temptation, we are reminding ourselves to ask that his help may not depart from us; otherwise we could be seduced and consent to some temptation, or despair and yield to it.

When we say: Deliver us from evil, we are reminding ourselves to reflect on the fact that we do not yet enjoy the state of blessedness in which we shall suffer no evil. This is the final petition contained in the Lord’s Prayer, and it has a wide application. In this petition the Christian can utter his cries of sorrow, in it he can shed his tears, and through it he can begin, continue and conclude his prayer, whatever the distress in which he finds himself. Yes, it was very appropriate that all these truths should be entrusted to us to remember in these very words.