Poor souls, Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving

giovanni-battista-crespi-st-gregory-delivers-the-soul-of-a-monk5B15D1November is the month of the poor souls, Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving.  After celebrating All Saints’ Day on November 1, we pray for the souls in Purgatory for the rest of the month.  As the Second Book of Maccabees tells us, praying for the dead is “a holy and pious thought.” (12:45) As fellow members of the Church (the communion of saints), we assist, with prayer and penance, those in Purgatory who are on the final leg of their journey to our Father in heaven. We pray that they may be purified of the remnants of sin and be made ready to enter into the all-holy presence of God.  To pray for the dead and to have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered on their behalf is an act of charity which will not go unappreciated.  If we do not maintain this practice, who will offer prayers for us someday when we are in need of them?

Veterans’ Day, originated with the armistice that ended the hostilities of what is now known as World War I, which occurred on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  Unfortunately the “war to end all wars” did not produce that result.  Grateful for the service and sacrifice of those who have served in the armed forces in the past, let us pray for peace and for the safety of those who are serving in the military today.

This Thanksgiving we have many reasons to be grateful to God.  Let us not forget to thank God for the blessings of this year, both material and spiritual, as we also pray for those who have experienced loss and for those who are actively involved in helping them.

Finally, on November 24, the Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe, the Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI will conclude.  When convoking the Year of Faith Pope Benedict expressed this hope:

We want this Year to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope.  It will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, which is “the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; ... and also the source from which all its power flows.”  At the same time, we make it our prayer that believers’ witness of life may grow in credibility.  To rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed, and to reflect on the act of faith, is a task that every believer must make his own, especially in the course of this Year. (Porta fidei, n. 9)

Now the fruits of the year-long observance remain to be seen, but Pope Benedict certainly laid the foundation for a renewal of our lives as Catholics.  May we as Catholic gentlemen actively strive to take up the task which Pope Benedict has asked every believer to make his own.

May Mary, Patroness of the United States and Star of the New Evangelization, pray for us.  May God bless you and your families.

-- Msgr. Michael Gorman, Chaplain