Prayers for All Saints and All Souls
A Prayer to All the Saints (Feast, November 1)
TODAY, dear friends in heaven, we celebrate your feast. We celebrate again the feasts of all the saints we know, and whom we honor day by day through the year. But we also honor today all the saints in heaven whom we do not know. We can not help thinking, on this day, that no one of us lacks a model to follow in one of you. We look around us at the familiar persons and things and activities that fill our every day lives, and we find that they are little different from the persons, things, and activities that filled your lives. We have the same human nature, wounded by the sin of Adam and Eve, but strengthened marvelously by grace, and fed and sanctified by the sacraments and prayer. We have exactly the same sacraments that you had, we have the same Christ, the same Blessed Mother, the same trials, sickness, pain, temptation, the same joys, pleasures, and happiness that crowded your lives.
Then it must be true that, with the same means, we should be able to work out our lives in the same holiness and sanctity as yours, dear saints. Help us to do this. Help us to see the opportunities for holiness that fill our everyday lives. Obtain for us, by your prayers, the deep understanding and appreciation of spiritual things that were yours. Help us to see, too, in the beauty of the world in which we live, some slight mirroring of the eternal beauty which you now see, as you gaze on God. But let us not be deceived into thinking that this earthly beauty, this worldly pleasure, is an end in itself. Let us use it wisely and moderately, our hearts always yearning to come at last to the final beauty and joy, the possession of God Himself, with you, in heaven. Amen
A Prayer in a Country Cemetery (All Souls Day, November 2)
DEAR Lord, here lie in their last rest, the boys and girls, the men and women that worked on the land. They knew the meaning of hard work. They knew the joy and peace that is the product of labor. Now we trust they know the peace and happiness of everlasting life with You.
They watched the sun rise often, winter and summer, over these hills and fields. They worked hard by its light, and turned willingly to their rest at its setting. Now they walk in the light of a Sun that knows no setting. Lord, if they are still in the waiting room of heaven–in purgatory–bring them speedily to the light of Your peace and the happiness of Your presence.
These men and women all their lives long labored to supply the food and drink necessary to sustain human life. Now, or soon, they enjoy in all its fullness the life that You, Lord, came down to earth to give men, and to give more abundantly.
Dear Lord, bless us who labor now in the fields and hills where these dear dead have worked. Grant that we may remember them with charity and kindness, walking reverently in the ways that they have left behind them. Grant, too, that we may finally meet these men and women, these boys and girls, in the eternal mansions that You are even now preparing for us. Amen.