Monday, November 3, 2014

Remembering the Holy Souls

In one of his treatises Anglican martyr, Hugh Latimer, speaks of the departed as possessing God's love, "charity", "in such surety that they cannot lose it…" He says that, as members of Christ's mystical Body, the Holy Souls love us, wish us well and pray for us. They are one with Christ, endlessly praising and thanking God, and sharing God's complete joy.

"And they do us alway good, unless the lack and impediment be in us: for prayer said in charity is more  faithful to them that it is said for, and more acceptable to God, than that which is said out of [lack of] charity. For God looketh not to the work of praying, but to the heart of the prayer…" That's something of which we should be especially mindful as we pray for our departed loved ones.

In any case, the feast of All Souls is one of hope for us, not one meant to engender fear or dread. To quote another great Anglican divine, John Donne, from his Holy Sonnets:

Death be not proud, though some have called thee 
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe, 
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow, 
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee. 
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee, 
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow, 
And soonest our best men with thee doe got, 
Rest of their bones, and soules delivery. 
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men, 
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell, 
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well, 
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then? 
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally, 
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

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