In this month of November, we Catholics remember the holy souls–friends and family who have finished their earthly pilgrimage.
Our Holy Father does so too, but since he has responsibility for the universal Church he offers mass and prayers for those who have assisted him in serving the Church. He recently offered Mass for those who made up part of his household Cardinals and Bishops who died during this last year.
In his homily at that Mass, Pope Francis emphasized that these men who were given such great dignity fulfilled their calling in serving, and in that way most fully participated in Christ’s saving mission.
“On this earth they loved their bride the Church, and we pray that in God they may enjoy full joy in the communion of saints. As we ask that they be rewarded as ‘good and faithful servants’, we are called up to renew our decision to serve the Church. … Those who serve and give may be seen to ‘lose’ in the eyes of the world, but in reality, losing life, they rediscover it. A life given away in love, imitates Christ: it defeats death and gives life to the world. He who serves, saves. On the contrary, he who does not live to serve, does not serve to live.”
“This is how the Son of God lowered Himself to us, stooping like a servant to us to take on all that is ours, to the point of throwing open the doors to life. … This style of God, Who saves us by serving us and annihilating Himself, has much to teach us. We imagine a triumphal divine victory; instead Jesus shows us a very humble victory. Raised on the cross, He lets evil and death beset him, while He continues to love. For us it is difficult to accept this. It is a mystery, but the secret of this mystery, of this extraordinary humility, consists entirely in the strength of love. … In this way Jesus not only takes away evil, but also transforms it into good. He does not change things with words, but with actions; not in appearance, but in substance; not on the surface, but at the root. He transforms the
cross into a bridge to life. We too can be victorious with Him, it we choose dutiful and humble love, that remains victorious for eternity. It is a love that does not shout and does not impose itself, but rather knows how to wait with trust and patience since, as the Book of Lamentations reminds us, “it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord”.
Let us conform ourselves to the service of the Lord n whatever station the Lord has called us to. Let us pray for the dead, comfort the mourning, serve the suffering, as we all continue on our pilgrim way to our common homeland–the Kingdom of God.
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.
Love and peace,
Fr Liam Quinlan