Think of Death Without Fear, Says Holy Father

Reflects on Days for All Saints and All Souls

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 2, 2005 (Zenit.org).- For one who «lives in Christ,» death is a passage to the heavenly homeland — and thus not a moment that should be regarded with fear, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope reflected on life and death Tuesday, solemnity of All Saints, when praying the midday Angelus with tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

For the Holy Father, this feast «allows us to experience the joy of being part of the great family of God’s friends.»

In fact, he explained, with «the incarnation of the Son, his death and resurrection, God willed to reconcile with himself the whole of humanity and allow it to share in his own life.»

«For one who lives in Christ, death is the passage of the earthly pilgrimage to the heavenly homeland, where the Father welcomes all his children,» Benedict XVI said.

«For this reason, it is very significant and appropriate that, after the feast of All Saints, the liturgy makes us celebrate tomorrow the commemoration of all the deceased faithful,» he continued.

The Pope invited the faithful to discover in these two days the «communion of saints,» which Christians profess in the creed.

On pilgrimage

«It is the reality of a family united by profound bonds of spiritual solidarity, which unites the faithful deceased with those on pilgrimage in the world,» the Holy Father explained. «A mysterious bond, but real, nourished by prayer and participation in the sacrament of the Eucharist.»

«In the Mystical Body of Christ, the souls of the faithful meet, surmounting the barrier of death, pray for one another, and realize in charity a profound exchange of gifts,» added the Bishop of Rome.

From this perspective is understood «the practice of offering prayers for the repose of the deceased, in a special way the Eucharistic sacrifice, memorial of the Pasch of Christ, who has opened to believers the entrance to eternal life,» the Pope said.

He added: «The traditional visit of these days to the tombs of our dead [is] … an opportunity to think without fear on the mystery of death and cultivate that incessant vigilance that prepares us to face it with serenity.»

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