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The Church honours the feast of The Saints and remembers the dead

Nov 2, 2011, 1:35 PM | Article By: FR. EDU GOMEZ - Parish of the Resurrection, Brikama

Every year, the first and second of the month of November are dates set aside by the Christian Calendar to honour the Saints and remember to pray for the dead. The first of November is called the feast of All Saints and the second November is the feast of All Souls.

The feast of All Saints

This feast is set aside to honour men and women who had lived their lives on earth and after their good lives on earth were rewarded by God and placed in heaven. A Saint is not an angel but a rewarded just person by God to be in heaven. In the book of Hebrews of the Bible Chapter 12:1, Saints are referred to as “the great cloud of witnesses”. These had gone through the struggle to fight against evil and sin and won the reward of eternal life promised by Jesus. They had a faith which they witnessed to all the days of their lives.

In the vision of John the apostle, he views saints as people who had done their earthly struggle and gone through a persecution but are washed through the blood of Jesus. He said, “these are the people who have been through the great persecution and because they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the lamb.” (Jn 9:14)

The feast of All Saints is observed by a holiday of obligation which means that Christians are to give time to be at Church and worship God and sing his praises because of the triumph of his grace over the saints.

The saints are women and men of every nation, time and language whose exemplary lives other Christians could emulate. For Christians, saints are witnesses that show good Christian living. Also their role is that of intercession. Saints can pray for Christians in their needs because they are closer to God. In the history and life of the church there have been many renowned Saints whose intercession are recorded and talked about.

The feast of All Souls

The Christian faith expresses life after death. Both the creeds of the Apostles and that of Nicea attest to this. That is why it is stated in them that “we believe in the resurrection of the dead and in the life to come”. The church on the feast of All Souls, 2nd November commemorates or remembers all Christian faithful who had also lived their lives and are called to eternity by God. These, called the faithful departed in as much as they had once lived their lives and were known could not be forgotten. The proper phrase says that they are dead and not forgotten.

Jesus had raised the dead to life as accounted in the gospel and so that teaches that the dead are equally important and so need not be forgotten. Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus in Matt 9:18-26. Jesus raised an only son of a widow in Lk. 7:11-17. Lazarus who had died was raised to life by Jesus in Jn 11:38-44.

The Christian faith in the Resurrection of the dead is one of the central tenets of Christian belief. St. Paul in 1 Cor 15 states that if Jesus is not risen from the dead then there is nothing to be preached about and so there is no Christianity.

Christians only give honour to the dead but do not worship dead bodies. God is the only Supreme Being to whom worship is due in the name of his son Jesus.

Very often on a day of remembrance for the dead, Christians go to church to worship God who is God of the living and the dead and pray for their loving faithful departed. They also lay flowers or wreaths in remembrances of them. The laying of wreaths is a Christian practice that shows the love that people have for the dead.

One of the favorable prayers said goes like this:

“Father in Heaven, hear our prayer and console us, Renew our faith in your son whom you raised from the dead. Strengthen our hope that we will share in his resurrection together with our departed brothers and sisters for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit”. Amen