Month of the Holy Souls (Days 21-22)
November 21, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Day 21

A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (15:51-57)

Behold, I tell you a mystery.
We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed,
     in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound,
     the dead will be raised incorruptible,
     and we shall be changed.
For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility,
     and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality.
And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility
     and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality,
     then the word that is written shall come about:

     Death is swallowed up in victory.
     Where, O death, is your victory?
     Where, O death, is your sting?

The sting of death is sin,
     and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory
     through our Lord Jesus Christ.

From his Homilies on the the First Letter to the Corinthians by St. John Chrysostom

We impart the wisdom of God in a mystery. A mystery does not ­need to be proved, but simply proclaimed. It would not be a wholly divine mystery if you added to it anything of your own. Besides, the reason it is called a mystery is that we cannot penetrate its­ depths: what we see is one thing, what we believe is another. In this lies the very nature of our mysteries.
My reactions to them are therefore different from the reactions of an unbeliever. When I hear that Christ was crucified I am filled with amazement at his love for us, but to the unbeliever this shows ­weakness. When I hear that Christ became a servant I am astonished at his solicitude for us, but to the unbeliever this is a disgrace. When I hear that Christ died I marvel at his power, since ­he was not conquered by death, but instead put an end to death. The unbeliever, however, sees Christ’s death as a sign of helplessness.
The unbeliever regards the resurrection as pure fiction, but I accept the proven facts and venerate God’s saving plan. In Baptism ­the unbeliever sees only water, but I perceive not only what meets the eye, but also the purification of the soul by the Holy Spirit. The unbeliever thinks only the body is cleansed, but I believe that the ­soul also is made pure and holy, and I am reminded of the tomb, the resurrection, our sanctification, justification, redemption, adoption, and inheritance, of the kingdom of heaven and the gift of the Holy Spirit. I judge outward appearances not by what I see ­but by the eyes of the mind. When the body of Christ is mentioned, ­the words have one meaning for me, another for the unbeliever.
Just as the letters on a page are meaningless to a child who has ­not learned to read, so it is with the Christian mystery. Unbelievers ­are deaf to what they hear, whereas the experience of the Spirit empowers believers to perceive its hidden meaning. Paul made this clear when he said: Our preaching is obscure, but only for those on the way to perdition. Something proclaimed everywhere without being understood by those lacking an upright spirit is undoubtedly a mystery. For to the extent that we are able to receive it, it is revealed not by human wisdom but by the Holy Spirit. Rightly therefore, is the mystery said to be a secret, for even we believers have not been given a completely clear and accurate knowledge of it. As Paul said: Our knowledge and our prophesying are imperfect. We see now as it were a dim reflection in a mirror, but then face to face. This is why he said: We impart the wisdom of God in a mystery predestined by God before all ages for our glory.

Musical Selection

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;

The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide!

When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,

Help of the helpless, O abide with me.


Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;

Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;

Change and decay in all around I see;

O thou who changest not, abide with me.


I need thy presence ev’ry passing hour;

What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?

Who like thyself my guide and stay can be?

Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.


I fear no foe with thee at hand to bless;

Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.

Where is death’s sting? where, grave, thy victory?

I triumph still, if thou abide with me.


Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;

Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies:

Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;

In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!


O God,

glory of believers and life of the just,

by the death and resurrection of your Son, we are redeemed:

have mercy on your departed servants

and make them worthy to share the joys of paradise,

for they believed in the resurrection of the dead.

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 22

A reading from the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (4:14-5:1)

Knowing that the One who raised the Lord Jesus
     will raise us also with Jesus
     and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you,
     so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people
     may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.
Therefore, we are not discouraged;
     rather, although our outer self is wasting away,
     our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this momentary light affliction
     is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
     as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen;
     for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.

For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent,
     should be destroyed,
     we have a building from God,
     a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven.

From the Angelus of Pope Francis (November 2, 2014)

Jesus himself revealed that the death of the body is like a sleep from which He awakens us. With this faith we pause — even spiritually — at the graves of our loved ones, of those who loved us and did us good. But today we are called to remember everyone, even those who no one remembers. We remember the victims of war and violence; the many “little ones” of the world, crushed by hunger and poverty; we remember the anonymous who rest in the communal ossuary. We remember our brothers and sisters killed because they were Christian; and those who sacrificed their lives to serve others. We especially entrust to the Lord, those who have left us during the past year.

Church Tradition has always urged prayer for the deceased, in particular by offering the Eucharistic Celebration for them: it is the best spiritual help that we can give to their souls, particularly to those who are the most forsaken. The foundation of prayer in suffrage lies in the communion of the Mystical Body.

As the Second Vatican Council repeats, “fully conscious of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the pilgrim Church from the very first ages of the Christian religion has cultivated with great piety the memory of the dead” (Lumen gentium 50).

Remembering the dead, caring for their graves and prayers of suffrage, are the testimony of confident hope, rooted in the certainty that death does not have the last word on human existence, for man is destined to a life without limits, which has its roots and its fulfillment in God. Let us raise this prayer to God: “God of infinite mercy, we entrust to your immense goodness all those who have left this world for eternity, where you wait for all humanity, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ your Son, who died as a ransom for our sins. Look not, O Lord, on our poverty, our suffering, our human weakness, when we appear before you to be judged for joy or for condemnation. Look upon us with mercy, born of the tenderness of your heart, and help us to walk in the ways of complete purification. Let none of your children be lost in the eternal fire, where there can be no repentance. We entrust to you, O Lord, the souls of our beloved dead, of those who have died without the comfort of the sacraments, or who have not had an opportunity to repent, even at the end of their lives. May none of them be afraid to meet You, after their earthly pilgrimage, but may they always hope to be welcomed in the embrace of your infinite mercy. May our Sister, corporal death find us always vigilant in prayer and filled with the goodness done in the course of our short or long lives. Lord, may no earthly thing ever separate us from You, but may everyone and everything support us with a burning desire to rest peacefully and eternally in You. Amen” (Fr Antonio Rungi, Passionist, Prayer for the Dead).

With this faith in man’s supreme destiny, we now turn to Our Lady, who suffered the tragedy of Christ’s death beneath the Cross and took part in the joy of his Resurrection. May She, the Gate of Heaven, help us to understand more and more the value of prayer in suffrage for the souls of the dead. They are close to us! May She support us on our daily pilgrimage on earth and help us to never lose sight of life’s ultimate goal which is Heaven. And may we go forth with this hope that never disappoints!

Musical Selection

Faire is the heaven where happy soules have place
In full enjoyment of felicitie;
Whence they do still behold the glorious face
Of the Divine, Eternall Majestie;
Yet farre more faire be those bright Cherubins
Which all with golden wings are overdight
And those eternall burning Seraphins
Which from their faces dart out fiery light;
Yet fairer than they both and much more bright
Be the Angels and Archangels
Which attend on God's owne person without rest or end
These then in faire each other farre excelling
As to the Highest they approach more neare
Yet is that Highest farre beyond all telling
Fairer than all the rest which there appeare
Though all their beauties joynd together were;
How then can mortal tongue hope to expresse
The image of such endlesse perfectnesse?


All-powerful God,

whose mercy is never withheld

from those who call upon you in hope,

look kindly on your servants,

who departed this life confessing your name,

and number them among your saints for evermore.

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.