Let us Lectio: The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed
The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, Nov. 2, 2019
Steps to Lectio Divina
Start by using these steps to reflect on the Scripture verse. Then read my meditation slowly.
Lectio: Having asked for the grace to hear God's word, read the passage twice.
Meditatio: During the second reading, pause whenever so moved and reflect on a word, a sentence, or an image that strikes you.
Oratio: Speak directly to God, and open your reflection to Him.
Contemplatio: Listen contemplatively for any response God might choose to make. Remember that God responds to us at times with loving silence.
From the Gospel for November 2, 2019, All Souls' Day (John 6:37-40)
Jesus said to the crowds:
“Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
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.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”
Unlike the Feast of All Saints, the Feast of All Souls is when we remember all the faithful departed, who have died in a state of grace, including those who have not yet attained sainthood.
This is not a Holy Day of Obligation, though it follows one, and it is not the same thing as Día de los Muertos, though it sounds similar and this liturgical feast is one of the influences for this Hispanic cultural celebration.
This feast is a time when the Church gently reminds us that we too will die and will face Jesus Christ as our judge to answer for our actions. We’re reminded too that one day we will be grateful, in a new way, for the prayers of the living for us and for the whole Church.
Two of the more interesting Catholic traditions for this time of year are to visit local cemeteries and to dedicate more time to pray for the dead. While strange on the surface, these are far from morbid practices. Our culture tends to hide and even unjustly neglect the ill, the dying, and yes, even the dead. So often, graveyards are infrequently visited, ill-kept, and even vandalized. Seeing this, one wonders at just how easy it is to forget those who are waiting for our Lord to return. There may be beauty in the humility of hiddenness, but far greater is the beauty of charity expressed in praying for the dead — for those in purgatory.
After a Catholic dies, we pray Rosaries in vigil, offer Mass for the repose of the soul, and pray at the burial site. What a lavish outpouring of charity and concern!
Jesus also promises that He will not lose anyone entrusted to Him by the Father. Jesus always does the will of the Father. He is always faithful. Thus, when God works on the hearts of men and moves them to faith in His son, Jesus promises that He will be faithful with those entrusted to Him. If we do not reject Him by our words and deeds, He will not abandon us, even unto death.
The Greek text says that Jesus will not “reject” or “throw out” anyone who comes to Him. He will never cast out (Genesis 3:24) anyone whom God gives to Him because He is always obedient to the will of the Father. The ultimate will of God for humanity is resolving the problem of sin which resulted in the removal of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. His ultimate will is the salvation of humanity through Jesus.
Callie Nowlin, MTS, is a regular contributor to the North Texas Catholic.
Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.