A HOLY WEEK. With all the attention on “Halloween” this week, most people will forget what this week is really about: All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. These days are particularly important because they remind us that the Church of Jesus Christ is more than just the people we see at Mass, or even the 2 billion plus Christians on Earth. Because countless numbers of Christians have lived and died before us, and many of those are in Heaven, or on their way there.
This is what the Church means when it speaks of the “Communion of Saints”. Remember, the one Church has three states, or parts: first, all Christians on Earth (“The Pilgrim Church” or “The Church Militant”), second, all those in Heaven (“The Church in Glory” or “The Church Triumphant”), and third, all the souls in Purgatory (“The Church Being Purified” or “The Church Suffering”).
All Saints Day, Friday, November 1, is a Holy Day of Obligation (you must go to Mass, under pain of mortal sin) which reminds us of our unity with the Church in Heaven. Throughout the year we celebrate the feasts of particular “saints” whom the Church officially recognizes as “canonized saints”. But on ALL Saints’ Day we also remember ALL the other countless number of souls who have gone to Heaven, including many of our deceased parents and grandparents, and so many of our little children who have gone before us. This is their feast day! So, we honor them, and pray to them, asking the whole multitude in Heaven to assist us on our way to join them.
All Souls Day, Saturday, November 2, remembers our unity with the Church in Purgatory. Unfortunately, nowadays even the mention of Purgatory often triggers reactions of disbelief or even ridicule—even among Catholics. Yet this dogma goes back to the Old Testament (see 2 Maccabees 12:39-46). And as St. John tells us in Rev. 21:27 that “nothing imperfect shall enter into” Heaven. The thing is, almost all of us have at least some venial sin we cling to, or have some inordinate attachment to earthly things. We are not perfect. But in His great love and mercy, the Lord takes all of us who die with any imperfections (but having, before dying, properly repented of any mortal—“deadly”—sins) and He perfects, or purifies, us. This is what we call “Purgatory.”
And we must pray for the Souls in Purgatory—because even while they rejoice as they see themselves becoming more and more perfect, and drawing closer and closer to heaven, they do suffer the pains involved in change: much like an athlete rejoices as he becomes stronger and faster even as he endures the grueling pain of exercise and training. So, even though it is not a Holy day of obligation, the Church encourages us to go Mass on All Souls Day to offer that greatest prayer possible for the “Holy Souls.” With this in mind, I invite you to join us either at the regular 9am Mass or the additional noon Mass next Saturday.
ELECTION. State and local elections are now only 9 days away, Tuesday, November 5. Sadly, many Virginians will not vote in this so-called “off year election,” even though it will decide who write most of the laws and policies that govern our daily lives, and especially the lives and learning of our children in the public schools. Especially important this year are the races for our State Delegate (District 42) and Fairfax County School Board, where we have a chance to elect 4 of the 12 seats on the board.
So, I ask all of you to join me in voting, and also praying from now until November 5, begging Our Lord to give us the best leaders possible. I have also decided to have 24 hours of Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 7pm Monday, November 4, until 7pm Tuesday, November 5—before and during Election Day. Please see today’s insert for more information and join in this powerful prayer.
It is a grave sin not to vote in this election: we cannot let the leftists and secularists destroy our culture, society and families. We must elect officials who will represent us, and defend the principles that have made our state and nation great.
Speaking of Secularist Destruction. U.S. Attorney General, William Barr, a devout Catholic, gave an amazing speech at the University of Notre Dame on October 12. Let me quote from an article in the Wall Street Journal by William McGurn, on Oct. 14:
… The attorney general advanced two broad propositions. First, the waning of religion’s influence in American life has left more of her citizens vulnerable to what Tocqueville called the “soft despotism” of government dependency. Second, today’s secularists are decidedly not of the live-and-let-live variety.
“The secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor,” he said. “It is taking on all the trappings of religion, including inquisitions and excommunication. Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake—social, educational and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.”
Right out of central casting, critics stepped forward to prove his point. ….Paul Krugman accused Mr. Barr of “religious bigotry” and described his words as a “pogrom type speech.”…Richard Painter… saying Mr. Barr sounded like “vintage Goebbels.” …Lawrence Wilkerson…[compared] the attorney general …to the Spanish Inquisition’s grand inquisitor.
This is what we have come to expect when someone in public life mentions religion in a positive light. Many didn’t like Mr. Barr’s blaming secularism for social pathologies such as drug addiction, family breakdown and increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males. Yet few engaged his more arresting contention, which is that all these problems have spiritual roots. Whereas religion addresses such challenges by stressing personal responsibility, Mr. Barr argued, the state’s answer is merely to try to alleviate “bad consequences.”
“So the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion,” he said. “The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites. The solution to the breakdown of the family is for the state to set itself up as an ersatz husband for the single mother and an ersatz father for the children. The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with this wreckage—and while we think we’re solving problems, we are underwriting them.”
The speech is easily findable online, both in video and text. Check it out.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE: Children’s Choir, “Schola.” I’m very excited to announce that we are starting a Children’s Schola, and invite all children in grades 3 – 8 to join. Now, our plan is not to entertain the children, or for the children to entertain us. Rather, this will be a serious experience in learning how to sing liturgical music, especially Gregorian Chant. When the children are ready they will join us at Mass, again, not to entertain, but to provide beautiful music to assist us in worshiping Our Lord. All those interested are invited to contact Eva Radel in the parish office.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles