The Consolations of the Day
“Where is he now?” I can remember asking myself that question as I looked at the lifeless body of a good friend who had died. Of course, by that time in my life I had prayed with many people who had lost loved ones. But now there was a new urgency to the question: yes, I see a body here, but where is he now?
The book of Wisdom eloquently answers all who have asked that question: “The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.” Today’s liturgical celebration of the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day) presents an enormous consolation to those who have lost loved ones. In the face of death’s mysterious invasion into life, we know and believe that the souls of our loved ones are in the hand of God.
“But what about all the unfinished business?” We know that many people die leaving behind unhealed relationships, wrongs never quite righted, conversations never completed. What happens to all of that?
Paul’s letter to the Romans encourages us: “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Sinners that we are, the mercy of God desires our complete healing and reconciliation, never fully finished in this life, but destined for completion in our passage through death to new life. And so we lovingly pray for our departed loved ones, asking that the complete healing and mercy of the Lord be shown them, preparing them for living in perfect Love.
“But what kind of life will he now enjoy?” Yes, faith teaches that life goes on after death, but what kind of life? And what has happened to all we shared with loved ones on earth, all that we have known that has been truly good and beautiful and in God?
Jesus instructs us: “And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day.” Nothing is lost. In the mystery of Jesus who shares my very flesh, even my flesh shall rise to glory. All the relationships I have cherished, all the good that has been done in my human life—nothing is lost. All is “saved” and brought into greater glory.
All the Faithful Departed: they are in God’s hands, receiving healing and being prepared for the glory of the resurrection. What consolation this day provides!
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook