Thursday, 1 November 2007

All Souls' Day

Tomorrow (Nov 2nd) is All Souls' Day. That's when we Roman Catholics commemorate the faithful departed (i.e. dead non-saint Catholics, the saintly ones being commemorated on the next day, which is All Saints Day). The Roman Catholic celebration is based on the doctrine that the souls of the faithful which at death have not been cleansed from venial sins, or have not fully atoned for mortal sins, cannot attain the heaven yet, and that they may be helped to do so by personal prayer and celebration of Mass (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Souls_Day). And All Souls' Day is that celebration (though other Masses also mention the faithful departed). Btw, fyi, venial sins are lesser sins that do not result in complete separation from God and thus eternal damnation in Hell while mortal sins are sins that, unless confessed and absolved (or at least willed if sacramental confession is not available), condemns a person's soul to Hell after death. And purgatory is basically a place or state where those who (departing this life in God's grace) are not entirely free from venial faults or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions are purified. In other words, these people can go to heaven because they love God and did not cut themselves off from God through unconfessed mortal sin. It's just that they are a bit stained from all those venial sins and thus must be washed clean in purgatory before they allow themselves to be presented to God (and note how I say that part, cause I mean every word). Thus a stay in purgatory can last from mere seconds to goodness know how long (centuries, maybe). But we Catholics on Earth can, u know, give them a helping hand by praying for them or celebrating mass for them. And that's what All Souls' Day is all about.

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