Month of the Holy Souls (Days 3-4)
November 03, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Day 3

A reading from the Book of Wisdom (3:1-9)

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
     and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
     and their passing away was thought an affliction
     and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed they be punished,
     yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
     because God tried them
     and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
     and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
     and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
     and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
     and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
     and his care is with his elect.

From Concerning the Resurrection by St. John Damascene

We believe also in the resurrection of the dead. For there will be in truth, there will be, a resurrection of the dead, and by resurrection we mean resurrection of bodies. For resurrection is the second state of that which has fallen. For the souls are immortal, and hence how can they rise again? For if they define death as the separation of soul and body, resurrection surely is the re-union of soul and body, and the second state of the living creature that has suffered dissolution and downfall. It is, then, this very body, which is corruptible and liable to dissolution, that will rise again incorruptible. For He, who made it in the beginning of the sand of the earth, does not lack the power to raise it up again after it has been dissolved again and returned to the earth from which it was taken, in accordance with the reversal of the Creator’s judgment.

For if there is no resurrection, let us eat and drink: let us pursue a life of pleasure and enjoyment. If there is no resurrection, wherein do we  differ from the irrational brutes? If there is no resurrection, let us hold the wild beasts of the field happy who have a life free from sorrow. If there is no resurrection, neither is there any God nor Providence, but all things are driven and borne along of themselves. For observe how we see most righteous men suffering hunger and injustice and receiving no help in the present life, while sinners and unrighteous men abound in riches and every delight. And who in his senses would take this for the work of a righteous judgment or a wise providence? There must be, therefore, there must be, a resurrection. For God is just and is the rewarder of those who submit patiently to Him. Wherefore if it is the soul alone that engages in the contests of virtue, it is also the soul alone that will receive the crown. And if it were the soul alone that revels in pleasures, it would also be the soul alone that would be justly punished. But since the soul does not pursue either virtue or vice separate from the body, both together will obtain that which is their just due.

And the Lord became Himself the first-fruits of the perfect resurrection that is no longer subject to death Wherefore also the divine Apostle Paul said: If the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised. And if Christ be not raised, our faith is vain: we are jet in our sins. And, Now, is Christ risen from the dead and become the first-fruits of them that slept, and the first-born pyre the dead; and again, For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.

We shall therefore rise again, our souls being once more united with our bodies, now made incorruptible and having put off corruption, and we shall stand beside the awful judgment-seat of Christ: and the devil and his demons and the man that is his, that is the Antichrist and the impious and the sinful, will be given over to everlasting fire: not material fire like our fire, but such fire as God would know. But those who have done good will shine forth as the sun with the angels into life eternal, with our Lord Jesus Christ, ever seeing Him and being in His sight and deriving unceasing joy from Him, praising Him with the Father and the Holy Spirit throughout the limitless ages of ages. Amen.

Musical Selection (Byrd)

Justorum animae in manu Dei sunt, et non tanget illos tormentum mortis. Visi sunt oculis insipientium mori, illi autem sunt in pace. 
But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, but they are at peace.


To you, O Lord, we commend the souls of your servants;

in the sight of this world they are now dead;

in your sight may they live for ever.

Forgive whatever sins they committed through human weakness

and in your goodness grant them everlasting peace.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God for ever and ever.  Amen.

Day 4

A reading from the Book of Wisdom (4:7-15)

The just man, though he die early,
     shall be at rest.
For the age that is honorable comes not
     with the passing of time,
     nor can it be measured in terms of years.
Rather, understanding is the hoary crown for men,
     and an unsullied life, the attainment of old age.
He who pleased God was loved;
     he who lived among sinners was transported–
Snatched away, lest wickedness pervert his mind
     or deceit beguile his soul;
For the witchery of paltry things obscures what is right
     and the whirl of desire transforms the innocent mind.
Having become perfect in a short while,
     he reached the fullness of a long career;
     for his soul was pleasing to the LORD,
     therefore he sped him out of the midst of wickedness.
But the people saw and did not understand,
     nor did they take this into account.

From her Autobiography, The Story of a Soul, by St. Thérèse of Lisieux of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face

I was saying that the certainty of going away one day far from the sad and dark country had been given me from the day of my childhood. I did not believe this only because I heard it from persons much more knowledgeable than I, but I felt in the bottom of my heart real longings for this most beautiful country. Just as the genius of Christopher Columbus gave him a presentiment of a new world when nobody had even thought of such a thing; so also I felt that  another land would one day serve me as a permanent dwelling place. Then suddenly the fog that surrounds me becomes more dense; it penetrates my soul and envelops it in such a way that it is impossible to discover within it the sweet image of my Fatherland; everything has disappeared! When I want to rest my heart fatigued by the darkness that surrounds it by the memory of the luminous country after which I aspire, my torment redoubles; it seems to me that the darkness, borrowing the voice of sinners, says mockingly to me: “You are dreaming about the light, about a fatherland embalmed in the sweetest perfumes; you are dreaming about the eternal possession of the Creator of all these marvels; you believe that one day you will walk out of this fog that surrounds you!  Advance, advance; rejoice in death which will give you not what you hope for but a night still more profound, the night of nothingness….

My dear Mother, I may perhaps appear to you to be exaggerating my trial. In fact, if you are judging according to the sentiments I express in my little poems composed this year, I must appear to you as a soul filled with consolations and one for whom the veil of faith is almost torn aside; and yet it is no longer a veil for me, it is a wall which reaches right up to the heavens and covers the starry firmament. When I sing of the happiness of heaven and of the eternal possession of God, I feel no joy in this, for I sing simply what I WANT TO BELIEVE.  It is true that at times a very small ray of the sun comes to illumine my darkness, and then the trial ceases for an instant, but afterward the memory of this ray, instead of causing me joy, makes my darkness even more dense. 

Never have I felt before this, dear Mother, how sweet and merciful the Lord really is, for He did not send me this trial until the moment I was capable of bearing it. A little earlier I believe it would have plunged me into a state of discouragement. Now it is taking away everything that could be a natural satisfaction in my desire for heaven. Dear Mother, it seems to me now that nothing could prevent me from flying away, for I no longer have any great desires except that of loving to the point of dying of love.

Musical Selection (Isaac Watts)

How short and hasty is our life!
How vast our souls’ affairs!
Yet senseless mortals vainly strive
To lavish out their years.
Our days run thoughtlessly along,
Without a moment’s stay;
Just like a story or a song
We pass our lives away.
God from on high invites us home,
But we march heedless on,
And ever hast’ning to the tomb,
Stoop downwards as we run.
Draw us, O God, with sovereign grace,
And lift our thoughts on high,
That we may end this mortal race,
And see salvation nigh.



God, our Creator and Redeemer,

by your power your only Son has conquered death

and has passed from this world into your kingdom.

Grant that all the faithful departed

may share his triumph over death

and enjoy for ever the vision of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God for ever and ever. Amen.