Honor Departed Loved Ones With Prayer, Says Pope

Offers Reflection on Community of Saints

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 2, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The best way to honor and feel truly connected with the faithful departed is to pray for them, offering acts of faith, hope and charity, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope reflected Sunday on the solemnity of All Saints before praying the midday Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
He noted that the feast day “invites the pilgrim Church on earth to anticipate the endless celebration of the heavenly community, and to revive the hope in eternal life.”

Recalling that the Church is observing the Year for Priests, the Holy Father praised “all holy priests, both those whom the Church has canonized, proposing them as examples of spiritual and pastoral virtues, as well as those — much more numerous — whom the Lord knows.”

“Each one of us cherishes the memory of some one of them, who has helped us to grow in the faith and has made us feel the goodness and closeness of God,” he added.
Benedict XVI also reflected on the commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, which the Church observes today, and encouraged the faithful to “live this annual celebration in keeping with a genuine Christian spirit.”

Referring to the tradition of visiting cemeteries to pray for the departed, the Pope said: “Let us remember that there, in the tombs, only the mortal remains of our loved ones rest, while awaiting the final resurrection. Their souls — as Scripture says — already ‘are in the hand of God.’

“Hence, the most appropriate and effective way to honor them is to pray for them, offering acts of faith, hope and charity.”

By praying for the dead, he said, one can “experience the most profound communion” with the faithful departed.
“How beautiful and consoling is the communion of saints,” the Pontiff continued. “It is a reality that infuses a different dimension to our whole life.

“We are never alone! We form part of a spiritual ‘company’ in which profound solidarity reigns: The good of each one is for the benefit of all and, vice versa, the common happiness is radiated in each one.”

The communion of saints, he added, can already be experienced to a certain extent “in this world, in the family, in friendship, especially in the spiritual community of the Church.”

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-27417?l=english

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