There are some interesting notes today in the text from Fr. Don Miller (http://www.franciscanmedia.com) about this “All Souls Day.” The first is the story of the emergence of such a remembrance. It was in the middle of 11th century, says Father Miller, that “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.”
I am partial, however, to a second notable thought that appears in the reflection section following the historical statements. Fr. Miller writes: …prayer for a loved one is, for the believer, a way of erasing any distance, even death. In prayer, we stand in God’s presence in the company of someone we love, even if that person has gone before us into death. I find that a sweet comfort as I image myself standing between my cousins, Paul and Jim, who have left us in this past year, and when I find myself in the circle of the four Sisters of St. Joseph who have gone before us during the past month. As I remain quietly in these two saintly companies, I hear St. Paul preaching to the Romans in the familiar words: The souls of the just are in the hand of God and no torment shall touch them…They are in peace.
May all of our dear departed ones rest in peace. Amen.