Today is All Souls Day, when we pray for the souls of the faithful departed. Praying for the dead is a very ancient Christian custom, and practiced today by Catholics, Orthodox, Anglican, and some Lutherans.
I have always found comfort in All Souls Day. Our culture, in my opinion, suffers from amnesia, i.e. a serious lack of concern for history. If it didn’t happen today or yesterday, it is old news. These days families don’t share stories from the past, and many kids grow up knowing nothing about their departed relatives. And in our perpetual state of hurriedness, finding time to spend with our relatives is scarce, so after they pass away we feel as if we missed out on the time we had to get close to them. All Souls Day is a chance to correct these issues. It is a time to pray for our departed relatives. It is a time to remember them, visit their graves, and celebrate them.
When I started looking for names of people to pray for on All Souls Day, I found out about relatives I never knew I had. One, named Edna, passed away as a young child in a sanitarium around the 1920s. Has anyone ever prayed for this child’s soul? Has anyone bothered to even remember her since that time? In most people’s eyes she is probably not even worth remembering. Well, in God’s eyes she is, and that is why I remember her and pray for her soul.
So for all our departed friends and relatives, especially for those whose souls nobody bothers to pray for:
Eternal Rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.
A blessed All Souls Day to everyone.