|Let the undead bury their, er, undead...
A huge amount of commercialism surrounds 'Halloween' now but that shouldn't detract us from a desire of the young to go on procession, even if it is just to give outward expression to an inner reality. It is a little sad that there is only a small, if growing, visible public counter-culture in Britain when it comes to Catholic processions, not that vast swathes of the youth would want to join in - it might even freak some people out a bit.
One can also see in the zombie processions and what amounts to a week of preparation for Halloween, with all the parties and dressing up and stuff two societies running in parallel lines - one society, society at large, immersed in a culture obsessed with death and another society - the Church - which with a strong heartbeat should live up to Her proclamation of life 'in all its fullness'. Tomorrow, thanks be to God, October will be over and November will have begun, a month in which Holy Church intensifies Her loving prayers for the Souls of the Departed. It struck me today that the Souls in Purgatory's greatest torment is not the 'purifying fire' but the thwarted desire to see God 'face to face'. They are in a different realm and though they anticipate and greatly hope to see God, believing surely in this eventuality, their spiritual reality is much different to the Saints in Heaven and indeed ours. The Saints in Heaven see God and enjoy the vision of His Glory. We do not see the vision of His Glory, and yet, at Mass we do see God, disguised as bread in the Blessed Host.
How much those Souls in Purgatory must lament that they did not perhaps always appreciate that this was so. How likely that we shall be guilty of the same lack of love for Our Lord! How much we should be aware that it is His Body and His Blood!
How much then, we who have time that we often squander, should have compassion on the Dead and remember them in our prayers as often as we can, for we have been promised by Holy Church that our prayers can bring them not just relief, but the eternal vision of the Triune God. We, too, can gain indulgences from Holy Church, as Rorate Caeli reminds us today, by visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead in the month of November. If we are wise, then we shall surely do so. What a great mystery it is that we poor and feeble creatures can bring relief to the Souls in Purgatory by our prayers. If we knew what Purgatory was like, then surely we would endure much for them and pray very regularly indeed for them.