10/31/2001 A Prayer in Tribute To All Souls' Day
Nov. 2 represents All Souls' Day, which commemorates the departure of our loved ones from this life. It is a holiday originally established back in the 11th century, and its timing on Nov. 2 was set purposely to shift the reflection of All Saints Day (celebrated Nov. 1) from heaven and the saints to people of this life who are no longer with us but are never forgotten.
In many cultures, particularly those with prominent Indian pasts (like in Mexico) this holiday is a special one, filled with festivities in a happy, party-like atmosphere -- almost as if those who have died are still alive and celebrating with the living! And that is precisely the point; these celebrations are not making light of death, but rather affirming that death is indeed a PART of life and the whole life-death-rebirth process that gives us hope. And more than that, it is a reminder that while unfortunately we must live without the physical presence of our departed loved ones, they are still among us in many ways: in the traditions they handed down to us, their teachings that we still follow, the love and laughter they shared with us, the foods and music we enjoyed together, and the sorrows that we shared.
Trying to carry on after the death of a loved one is one of the hardest things we must do, but fortunately there is help: a prayer to St. Jude for comfort during the times when being apart from the loved one taken from us becomes unmanageable is a great way to help not only keep us strong and focused on this life but also to ask our special saint to join us in prayer for the soul of our loved one. For truly we must see our lives as consisting not only of our own existence but also of the memories and influences of those who came before as well as those who come after us -- the ones who we will inspire. And this was a key theme in St. Jude's teachings.
Our St. Jude prayer on this occasion is a simple one:
"Dear St. Jude, you know the depths of the sorrows we bear in the wake of the death of our loved ones. You know that being left alone can cause us to lose focus, stability and a reason to go on. It is at this time that we turn to you. Pray with us to God to grant us the gift of spiritual comfort, both in knowing that our dear departed ______ is in the company of our Lord, and that we are NOT LEFT HERE ALONE. Help us to still hear their laughter, to see their smiles and to feel their gentle touch upon us. Let us never forget where we came from, but help us continue the work they began for us. Show us that in living our own lives, we help transcend the deaths of our dear departed ones. And when remembering becomes painful and carrying on becomes impossible, be with us St. Jude so that we may not be overwhelmed or overcome by hopelessness. In Jesus' name we ask this. Amen."
You can publish your message on The St. Jude Novena Site, and if you like, your donation can be made in the name of a departed loved one. And why not consider using our E-mail Dedication Service to send a copy of your prayer to someone else who knows the person you are praying for. It's a great way to help turn a joint feeling of loss or grief to one of a warm memory of someone whose love and life you both experienced.
With Warmest Regards,