“Every year, after the solemnity of Saint Francis, each local fraternity shall celebrate a commemoration of all deceased brothers, sisters, relatives, and benefactors.”
Ordinances of the General Chapters, 3/2
A reading from the letters of Saint Braulio of Saragossa
The risen Christ is the hope of all believers
Christ, the hope of all who have faith, calls those who leave this world, not the dead but those who are asleep. He says: “Lazarus, our friend is asleep”. Nor would the holy apostle have us grieve over those who are asleep. His reason is that if our faith holds that all who believe in Christ shall not die forever, as the Gospel says, then we know by faith that because he is not dead so neither shall we die.
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise.”
May this hope of resurrection put heart into us since we shall see again in heaven those whom we lose on earth. All we have to do is to believe ﬁrmly in Christ and obey his commandments. Such is his power that he can raise the dead more easily than we can arouse the sleeping. We say this but then some emotion starts our tears once again and the feeling of selﬁsh longing prevails over the believing heart. Such is the wretchedness of our humanity that everything that happens in our lives without Christ is mere emptiness.
O unfeeling death, cruelly pulling asunder those who are joined together, and parting those who are united in friendship! But now is your power destroyed and your godless yoke shattered by him who gave you stern warning when he said through Osee: “O death I will be your death.” To which we add our own taunts in the words of the Apostle: “O death, where is your victory? O death where is our sting? ” He who conquered you is our redeemer. He gave his beloved soul into the hands of wicked men in order to make of them his loved ones.
It would take a long time if I had to quote everything that Scripture offers for our consolation. But the hope of resurrection should be enough for us as we turn our eyes towards the glory of our redeemer. By our faith we know that we have already risen in him, as the Apostle says: “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we also live together with him.”
We belong not to ourselves but to him who redeemed us. Our will must always be dependent on his, which is why we pray: “Thy will be done.” That is also the reason that we must say with Job as he mourned: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Let us say that with Job here on earth. If we imitate him in the present circumstances we shall not be unlike him in heaven.
as you are the fount of mercy
and wish all to be saved,
have mercy on our deceased brethren and benefactors.
Through the intercession of Blessed Mary ever-virgin,
and all of our saints,
bring them to the fellowship of eternal joy.
We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.