“..the Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek, he will take away his people’s shame everywhere on earth, for the Lord has said so..” Feast of All Souls where we gather to unite ourselves in thought love & prayer with our loved ones who have died, & we think.. we think.. may still be on the way to Heaven.. the day when us in Tier 1, the Church militant, join with those in Tier 3 the saints in heaven, the Church triumphant, to pray for those we think will still be facing some shame in Tier 2 we call purgatory.. the Church suffering.. ”it is a holy & wholesome thought to pray for the dead”
..for the times we wallow in low self-esteem, in shame & grief at the thought of a loved one as a lost sheep or lost goat, indoctrinated into a frightening possibility of a day of judgement instead of the welcome home of a lifetime, let us ask for Our Lords mercy, gentleness & compassion.. “my God, my God, why have you deserted me” ..& my loved ones.. ; Lord have mercy “ ..there is no need for alarm.. you are looking for Jesus” & your loved ones.. ; Christ have mercy “. .he is not here, he has Risen..” no longer in purgatory now in heaven.. ;Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..the trials of Purgatory or the fires of Hell?.. in my Outreach message to you at weekend I quoted Fr Donal O’Leary in his book “Lost Soul”.. Irishman & priest of Leeds Diocese, a lively combination made in Heaven bless him, where we pray he now is.. “it makes a heaven or a hell of a difference whether the church in which we find ourselves points to humanity as a sin to be atoned for or holds us all up as a blessing to be celebrated.” “shoulder my yoke & learn from me, for I am gentle & humble in heart, & you will find rest [eternal rest] for your souls” yours & souls we pray for today in Tier 2 purgatory.. a place of non-answer in terms of when but clear as to where next Tier 3 Heaven as saints.. Purgatory, a place of gentleness where a humble God puts the alleged anger in St Pauls letter to Romans to one side “is it likely that he would now fail to save us from God’s anger?” melts in space of a few lines & breadth of salvation history to finish with “not merely because we have been reconciled, but because we are filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, though whom we have already gained our reconciliation”.. wonderful message preached believed in by Fr Ian Petit OSB 40yrs ago he lived it tried to convince others & for many it was, & still is, too good to be true, too good to be believed.. ”we have already gained our reconciliation” we are already saved alongside our beloved in Tier 2, as we, & they, wait to enjoy the fullness of that divine relationship.. even prophet Isaiah, stuck bless him in the half truths of the Old Testament agrees.. did you hear it or miss it? “we rejoice that he has [ not will ] he has saved us”..
“I am sure I & they will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living”.. feel the fresh breeze.. are we here to pray for our loved one’s sins to be atoned for, or to hold them up as a blessing to be celebrated?.. maybe you came for the first & you will leave having smiled & enjoyed the second?..” filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ”.. & if this is all too much to take in, too good to be true, when our Fr Ian was dying with cancer in the Monastery Infirmary, & a day or two before he died, I took him his lunch.. asked him “how are you today?” he said “Bede, I have helped many hundreds of people prepare for death, & when it comes to my own, I can’t hack it” “the Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek” mine still after all these years, he was an outstanding saint-in-the-making, ready & waiting, albeit anxiously & low on selfconfidence at that moment, to meet the gentleness & humility of the divine heart.. ”my yoke is easy & my burden light”.. it says it in writing in gospel, it is written on tin of our daily life experiences.. we have a graveyard full of practitioners & recipients of that divine love & mercy.. each grave a heartprint to a story of salvation history being lived & rewritten year on year, & still we hesitate to fully believe.. you know well story of rich man & Lazarus.. both began on Tier 1..& after death, rich man found himself.. found his real self, in everlasting self-isolation we call Hell.. for one sin we might have considered a minor infringement in Tier 1..it was to cost him his eternal life.. he didn’t kick Lazarus, call police to have him removed from his front gate, spit on him or abuse him.. simply he failed to see him “when you failed to see him, you failed to see me”.. his attempts to rejoin pyramid failed, his remorse his self-referral came too late..& bless him in Hell he pleads for his family still in Tier 1.. ”send Lazarus to warn my brothers so that they won’t come to this place of torment too”.. a place of atonement.. however, from this moment onwards, after hearing, possibly for the first time in a lifetime, the reality of purgatory as a place of gentleness & humility, a moment of fine tuning before our loved ones are welcomed into Tier 3 with great joy, I would like to suggest your beloved loved ones, those you have come to pray for today, will be praying for us, settling our own fears & anxieties.. our own deceased relatives friends parishioners & monks sent today not to warn us, but to affirm us that we, in time, in divine time, will journey through Tier 2 & eventually into Tier 3.. ”with thoughts such as these you should comfort one another” appropriate for the first early stages of grief & loss.. which in time will become a different prayer, no longer of consolation, but now of affirmation.. “I believe that I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living”.. ..& perhaps the divine voice from the Cross to each of us here & now “ indeed I promise you, today they will be with me in paradise..”
..“it makes a heaven or a hell of a difference whether the church in which we find ourselves points to humanity as a sin to be atoned for or holds us all up as a blessing to be celebrated.” [All Souls Yr A Mt 11;25-30]