Dear friends in Christ,
Throughout the month of November, and especially on All Soul’s Day, the Church invites us to pray for the dead. Here we especially remember our loved ones and all those close to us.
The theological basis in praying for the dead is that on dying their souls may not be perfectly cleansed from venial sins or they may not have fully atoned for past transgressions, for which reason it is important that we pray for them, above all in the Sacrifice of the Mass, and give alms so that they can experience eternal life in heaven.
The importance of praying for the dead is demonstrated in the Second Book of Maccabees which tells us that Judas Maccabees “made atonement for the dead that they might be absolved from their sin” (12:46), and in the First Letter to the Corinthians (3:15), the First Letter of Peter (1:7), and the Gospel of Matthew (12:16).
The Church encourages us, in the month of November, to visit cemeteries and pray for our loved ones who have gone before us.
Especially at this time of the year, let us take to heart the exhortation of the Father of the Church Saint John Chrysostom who once said, “Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them” (Homilies on 1 Corinthians 41, 5).