Big Feasts on the Horizon!
- Tuesday, November 1, is All Saints Day, a Holy Day of Obligation**!
On this day, we commemorate all our brothers and sisters in the Faith who have gone to glory--the Saints whom we know to be in heaven because of their merits in this life, and by the proved efficacy of their intercession from the next life. What a beautiful day to come together as one People of Faith and worship our God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, where all three branches of the Church (on earth, in purgatory, and in Heaven) come together and praise the Lord with one voice!
** “But Father, Father, what do you mean by ‘obligation’? I thought we had a choice now.”
We always have a choice—the choice to follow the precepts of God and the Church, or not to. It’s called free will. However, not to fulfill one’s obligations to God and His Holy Church (apart from situations where to do so is impossible and beyond our control due to a “grave reason”) constitutes a mortal sin which must be absolved through sacramental Confession. Those who are unable to attend Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation due to a grave reason (illness, caring for the sick or for children, work commitments; sports practices do not count as ‘grave’), may fulfill their obligation of observing the Feast by spending an appropriate time in prayer, either individually or as a family, or in a small group (canon 1247 §2).
· “The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor: The first precept—“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor”—requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church , §§ 2041-2042)
- Wednesday, November 2, is All Souls Day, a Holy Day of Opportunity!
This is a tremendous opportunity to pray for the souls of our deceased loved ones, that they may be freed from the bonds of Purgatory and enter into the eternal bliss of God’s Heavenly Kingdom, to join with the Saints in everlasting glory. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace!
For further information on why we pray for our dead, see this post and this post! Happy reading!