Month of the Holy Souls (Day 20)
November 20, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Day 20

A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (15:20-23)

Christ has been raised from the dead,
     the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through a man,
     the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
     so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
     but each one in proper order:
     Christ the firstfruits;
     then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
     then comes the end,
     when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death,
     for "he subjected everything under his feet."
But when it says that everything has been subjected,
     it is clear that it excludes the one who subjected everything to him.
When everything is subjected to him,
     then the Son himself will also be subjected
     to the one who subjected everything to him,
     so that God may be all in all.

On the Decease of His Brother Satyrus by St. Ambrose of Milan (cont'd)

By the death of One the world was redeemed. For Christ, had He Willed, need not have died, but He neither thought that death should be shunned as though there were any cowardice in it, nor could He have saved us better than by dying. And so His death is the life of all. We are signed with the sign of His death, we show forth His death when we pray; when we offer the Sacrifice we declare His death, for His death is victory, His death is our mystery, His death is the yearly recurring solemnity of the world. What now should we say concerning His death, since we prove by this Divine Example that death alone found immortality, and that death itself redeemed itself. Death, then, is not to be mourned over, for it is the cause of salvation for all; death is not to be shunned, for the Son of God did not think it unworthy of Him, and did not shun it. The order of nature is not to be loosed, for what is common to all cannot admit of exception in individuals.

And, indeed, death was no part of man's nature, but became natural; for God did not institute death at first, but gave it as a remedy. Let us then take heed that it do not seem to be the opposite. For if death is a good, why is it written that "God made not death, but by the malice of men death entered into the world"? For of a truth death was no necessary part of the divine operation, since for those who were placed in paradise a continual succession of all good things streamed forth; but because of transgression the life of man, condemned to lengthened labour, began to be wretched with intolerable groaning; so that it was fitting that an end should be set to the evils, and that death should restore what life had lost. For immortality, unless grace breathed upon it, would be rather a burden than an advantage.

And if one consider accurately, it is not the death of our being, but of evil, for being continues, it is evil that perishes. That which has been rises again; would that as it is now free from sinning, so it were without former guilt! But this very thing is a proof that it is not the death of being, that we shall be the same persons as we were. And so we shall either pay the penalty of our sins, or attain to the reward of our good deeds. For the same being will rise again, now more honourable for having paid the tax of death. And then "the dead who are in Christ shall rise first; then, too, we who are alive," it is said, "shall together with them be caught up in the clouds into the air to meet the Lord, and so we shall always be with the Lord." They first, but those that are alive second. They with Jesus, those that are alive through Jesus. To them life will be sweeter after rest, and though the living will have a delightful gain, yet they will be without experience of the remedy.

There is, then, nothing for us to fear in death, nothing for us to mourn, whether life which was received from nature be rendered up to her again, or whether it be sacrificed to some duty which claims it, and this will be either an act of religion or the exercise of some virtue. And no one ever wished to remain as at present. This has been supposed to have been promised to John, but it is not the truth. We hold fast to the words, and deduce the meaning from them. He himself in his own writing denies that there was a promise that he should not die, that no one from that instance might yield to an empty hope. But if to wish for this would be an extravagant hope, how much more extravagant were it to grieve without rule for what has happened according to rule!

Musical Selection (Libera)

Do not stand at my grave and weep 
I am not there, I do not sleep 
I am a thousand winds that blow 
I am the diamond glint on snow 
I am the sunlight on ripened grain 
I am the gentle Autumn rain
Do not stand at my grave and weep 
I am not there, I do not sleep
When you awake in the morning hush 
I am the swift uplifting rush 
Of quiet birds in circling flight 
I am the soft starlight at night 
Do not stand at my grave and weep 
I am not there, I do not sleep


Lord God,

here on earth your servants

were found worthy to be conformed to Christ;

free them from every bond of sin,

that in the glory of the resurrection

They may breathe life anew

and dwell among your saints for ever.

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.