Today is All Souls Day, the Day of the Dead. Last night I offered a celestial sung High Mass for All Saints in a church full of holy people, and truly I felt as if I were already in heaven. Today we lower our eyes to those in purgatory, joining our suffering to theirs. The greatest suffering, certainly, is to be not yet perfectly with God. To help us remember the Holy Souls, we set up an All Souls Altar every November in the church with pictures of our loved ones who have died.
Even yesterday (before the All Souls Altar officially began), fifty pictures of our beloved dead had already been placed under the great marble statue of Our Lady. On November 2nd I put $100 into the offering box for a month’s worth of candles. Every day of November I will light three little candles and kneel in front of these pictures, under Our Lady’s image, to say a prayer for their deliverance from purgatory.
If these holy people are already in heaven, my prayers will go to them there, begging their prayers for my own deliverance. Certainly, the Holy Souls pray for us as we pray for them. It is said that their prayers, in particular, are most effective in obtaining healing for our bodily illnesses, and giving us strength of will to suffer what we must in this life.
I’ve placed photographs of my grandmother, my uncle, and my mother at the November Altar, and this year I will add pictures of my maternal grandparents and paternal grandfather. I love to look at these hundreds of pictures, fascinating and wonderful historical images of real people. They show people on earth, but they also show what they look in heaven, because God conserves our essential identities.
People do not lose their personal identity after death, and I will still be Joseph Peter Illo in the next life just as I am in this life. Our bodies, our psyches, and our souls will be glorified, purified, and perfected, but not essentially changed. That is why looking upon these images is looking into heaven. That is why we are fascinated by pictures of real people, especially after they have died. That is why many cultures place images of the deceased on their graves. The dead do not disappear, but they take their individuality either to heaven or to hell.
“For I know,” the prophet Job writes, “that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” Our Lady’s Assumption is the clearest promise of the hope to which we cling. God took her, body and soul, into heaven, where she reigns with her Son. And that is why we place the photographs of our beloved dead on her altar. She looks upon all these pictures too, interceding for the souls of the faithful departed with us.
The above comes from a Nov. 2 posting on Father Illo’s blog. Father is pastor of Star of the Sea in San Francisco.
The hope of eternal life is such an inducement to holy living and sacrifice — should I say–sacrificial love? I love the statement, “:The greatest suffering, certainly, is to be not yet perfectly with God,” which describes well the devout soul which nevertheless struggles with sin and temptation, against pride and concupiscence in this life, and in the life to come feel appropriate sorrow and shame for not returning to God, the abyss of infinite mercy, sufficient devotion. I hope I have the sense of Fr. Illo’s words.
I think he meant that is the greatest suffering of those in Purgatory.
I think most people are hoping to be changed.
I was in a room of Catholic adults (all who were old enough to have had 1st Communion and Confirmation before Vatican II) when they were taught and realized for the first time that their glorified bodies were going to be the same ones they had in this life.
No one was thrilled with that.
St. Paul has marvelous things to say, about the day of our resurrection, in our new, glorified bodies! It is a great thrill to read and to ponder! Here is the famous Scripture passage from St. Paul: 1 Corinthians 15:42-57
(Or, you can read the whole
1 Cor. Chapter 15.)
At the resurrection of the body, we will regain all that we lost, eons ago, at Adam’s Fall– and much more! We will have immortal, incorruptible spiritual bodies, unlike our poor physical bodies, made of dust of the earth. Our heavenly, spiritual bodies will not be subject to sickness, disease, decay, nor death. They will be glorious, very powerful, imperishable, very good, Christ-like, very beautiful and angelic. Our heavenly, glorified bodies will be like Christ at His resurrection– and we will joyously dwell with Christ, in Eternity! Isn’t that absolutely thrilling? “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” (Douay-Rheims Bible) Christ gives us the victory over sin and death, in the end! Thrilling!
Thank you for that Scripture. It is certainly a much different translation than I have ever seen.
So the part that is from Douay-Rheims is “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?
The rest of that does not seem to be from the Bible at all.
Read the whole Scripture passage– see for yourself. Sin, disease and death have no victory, in the end– what a glorious future, for those who are Christ’s own, due to His Sacrifice on the Cross– at the resurrection of the body! It is a great comfort, to those who are near death, or who have lost a loved one. We shall have the most glorious future with Him!
Here are two versions of the Scripture passage from St. Paul:
1. From the Douay-Rheims Bible:
2. From the USCCB:
Here is another source for the Douay-Rheims version of the Scripture passsge. It is easier to read– not so many online ads, like the other source:
So the next time that you are mixing your own words with Scripture or paraphrasing Scripture you should write cf. before the Scripture verse. That lets the reader know that it is not a direct quote but that it is something that they can compare it too.
That quotation is so famous. It has been quoted hundreds of times by famous people, of both the religious and secular realms.
It has appeared in poetry, literature, plays, and musical works.
Your punctuation and citation was careless and made it look like you were claiming something to be in Scripture that is not in Scripture.
You needed a period after the Bible chapter and verse.
My comment of Nov. 9 at 7:45am was edited. Because the quote, “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” is so famous, nothing special is needed. And no, I did not mix my own words with Scripture– I used proper punctuation, for the famous quote.
me– No, I took it for granted that you would recognize the famous quotation– but you didn’t. Even famous politicians have used that famous Biblical quote! Guess I am of an older generation, very used to such things. Once, at Christmas, we had a pastor (now deceased) reading the popular passage from Isaiah, which everyone of the day also knew was famous for use in Handel’s “Messiah.” In his sermon, the pastor remarked on that, and invited all the parents to go home and put on a recording of Handel’s beautiful “Messiah,” especially the Christmas part– for all their children to learn about and enjoy. Everyone chuckled. They were all thinking the same thing! Me, too, in the choir loft! Try reading Isaiah 9:2-7—- I bet you may be especially familiar with verse 9:6!! “For unto us a Child is born…” Do you recognize that?
You may have studied English literature, poetry, and plays in school, and may have been familiar with that Biblical quotation from John Donne– “O death, where is thy victory? (etc.)” Or perhaps you are familiar with it from Handel’s “Messiah,” or maybe from a hymn. Or an actor may have had those lines in a play or movie you saw. It is also a comfort, if you have lost a loved one in battle, or to a fatal illness. Our culture used to know famous Biblical quotes and passages, especially those used in famous popular works of literature, poetry, plays, music, etc.
Thanks for making me laugh on this beautiful Sunday morning here in the Coachella Valley
Like many others, I enjoyed reading stories of the lives of the saints, when young. They had some amazing abilities, as well as heroic virtues. Many could spontaneously levitate, bilocate, work healing miracles, foretell the future, read souls and help cure penitents of sins, pass through walls and doors– often to run to help someone in distress, or heal the sick– and many could do such things as multiply food supplies, like Christ, to feed the poor, and bend Time somehow, to do fabulous miracles, to save people’s lives and change the course of history. St. Padre Pio bilocated, performing miracles, changing people’s lives. Some saints could communicate with animals, like St. Francis of Assisi and St. Martin de Porres. St. Padre Pio also communicated with angels, and often worked favors before they were asked of him. During WWII, when American and English bombers were ordered to bomb the area of San Giovanni Rotondo, where St. Padre Pio’s monastery was located, St. Padre Pio was seen up in the air, and he stopped the bombers from releasing their bombs, miraculously! He had previously made a promise to the townspeople, that their town would be safe from harm, during WWII. I have always loved stories of all Marian apparitions, and loved the story of St. Catherine Labore, and her meetings with the Blessed Mother, and the gift of the Miraculous Medal– I have worn a Miraculous Medal, lifelong. St. Catherine’s body is incorruptible,
like the bodies of many other saints. I have wondered, if someday, at the resurrection of the body– will we, too, have similar fantastic spiritual gifts like the saints? Will God have plans to put these new gifts to use? Our future is more fantastic than science fiction– and all true!
Is that little Joseph Peter Illo on his grandfather’s lap? not so little now. One can certainly see the resemblance of the adult Fr. Illo to his grandfather.
Some say the saints are all about the “perfect” age of 33 in heaven, about the age the Lord Jesus was when he died. Who knows! Fun to guess though.
Fr. Illo said in his blog, that he was born in 1961. But the photo for this article is dated 1954. Confusing!
Here is a fabulous, true story, regarding the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in the tilma of St. Juan Diego. Scientists have discovered that Our Lady’s eyes on the tilma image, possess the three effects of image refraction, found in a living eye. Reflected in Our Blessed Mother’s eyes, are 13 tiny figures, including Bishop Zumarraga and St. Juan Diego. And there is much more! Here is a wonderful, fantastic true story about the tilma, from the Knights of Columbus: