In the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church it says of All Saints Day…
The feast is kept on the 01.11.2016 to celebrate all the Christian saints and martyrs known and unknown and has been kept since the fourth and sixth century AD.
All Souls Day [02.11.2016] follows All Saints Day and has been kept since 918 AD
A time of celebration and giving thanks for all those who have inspired us down the centuries and currently, and most recently Mother Theresa of Calcutta and the future Blessed Father Jacques of France in 2016. Alongside this are the actual ‘living saints’ in my mind, Archbishop Tutu amongst many others.
The mood changes when we think of All Souls Day from All Saints, I think of those dear souls who have died or are dying, and our mood changes to solemnity. We give thanks for the communion of saints, the faithful witnesses of those who have died and look forward to the promise of eternal life. Remembering the departed, our loved ones included, those died prepared and unprepared for death, and for those we mourn.
At the time of death the priest says:
“Eternal God grant to your servant all to all those who surround him / her with our prayers beyond our understanding. Give us faith, the comfort of your presence, and to find the necessary words to say to one another and to you, as we gather in the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord Amen”
With the conclusion” I commend my spirit”
This prayer is our prayer and another writer says this:
“ In darkness and in light, in trouble and in joy, help us Oh God to trust your love, to seek your purpose, and to praise your name. Amen”
At a time of loss of a loved one, we stumble, we can’t find the words, we can’t imagine life without them, we cannot even imagine how we will survive and some people don’t afterwards.
In the novel, ‘In the Spring time of the Year’, Susan Hill, talks beautifully about the sudden death of a loved one and how the partner survived gradually, and learnt how to cope afterwards. I recommend it.
The prayer book says:
“Go forth from the world in the love of God the father who created you. In the mercy of Jesus Christ who redeemed you. In the power of the Holy Spirit who strengthens you and the community of heaven to enfold you, and in communion with all the faithful may you dwell in peace. Amen”
So we give thanks we look back and we look forward, and we ask, “How do I live again without X”, and also ask the fundamental question about ourselves in that situation; “Do I want to find a way forward or just give up?”
In our struggle to survive after death of a beloved and live again, we ask for healing of the body, memories, emotions, both physically and spiritually, following our loss.We all carry many hurts and pains in our own lives, but in the power of the Holy Spirit we can be healed and become the ‘wounded healer’ for one another. We offer our prayers for All the Saints and All Souls Day, whilst also recognising our own vulnerability and specific needs.
Healing comes in many ways, both expected and unexpected. What is true is that healing can enter our bodies and minds healing us, renewing us, and making us whole again. Go fellow Christian live, live deeply both in this life and in eternity. Amen
All Saints Church, Hove