02 November 2009

Feast of All Souls

I have previously posted on the excellent book The End of The World by Fr. Arminjon and thought what he had to say regarding the holy souls was worth posting.

There is another thing the dead say to us: you are mistaken about our desires, and the kind of relief our pains demand; you thought you were showing us your sorrow and love by arranging a magnificent funeral. On the spot of our last abode you have erected monuments, which are not so much tributes to our memory as a gratification of your pride. What is the purpose of all this ostentation and splendor? If need be, pull down those mausoleums, smash those monuments and stones, and purchase with their rubble the prayers and suffrage's of the Church.

This is what the dead ask of us; and, if we listen to them, truly, I tell you, our charity will be blessed. The dead will not be thankless. One day, freed from their torments by our solicitude, they will help us by their powerful intercession, and, when we fly up toward the heavenly fatherland, they will accompany us in procession; they will sing around us the hymn of thanksgiving, and increase the joy of everlasting bliss that will be our reward and our glory.

Fidelium animae per misericordium Deum,
Requiescat in pace

There is also this account of the origin of the Feast of All Souls.
In the annals of Citeaux, it is related that a pilgrim from the district of Rodez, returning from Jerusalem, was forced by a storm to pull into port at an island close to Sicily. There he visited a holy hermit, who inquired about matters pertaining to religion in his country of France, and also asked whether knew the monastery of Cluny and Abbot Odilon. The pilgrim replied that he did, and added that he would be grateful if he would tell him what purpose he had in asking him that question. The hermit answered, "Very near this place, there is a crater, whose summit we can see; at certain times, it belches up clouds of smoke and flame. I have seen demons carrying off the souls of sinners and hurling them into that frightful abyss, in order to torment them for a while. Now, on certain days, I hear the evil spirits conversing among themselves, and complaining that some of these souls have escaped from the; they blame pious persons who, by their prayers and sacrifices, hasten the deliverance of these souls. Odilon and his monks are the ones who seem to terrify them the most. That is why, when you return to your country, I ask you in the name of God to exhort the abbot and monks of Cluny to redouble their prayers and alms for the relief of these poor souls." The pilgrim, on his return, did as he was bidden. the holy Abbot Odilon pondered and weighed everything carefully. He sought enlightenment from God, and ordained that, in all the monasteries of his order, the second day of November each year should be established in commemoration of all the faithful departed.

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