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Liturgy

The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)

«Why are you weeping? » (Jn 20,13)

Let them weep who lack all hope of resurrection; it is not the will of God that takes it away from them but the inflexibility of what they believe. There has to be a difference between the servants of Christ and the pagans. This is what it is: they mourn for those close to them whom they think to be dead for ever; they see no end to their weeping, reach no rest for their grief..., whereas for us death is not the end of our existence but the end of our life. Since our existence is restored by a condition that is better, therefore the coming of death sweeps away all our tears...

How much greater is our comfort who believe that our good deeds are the promise of better rewards after death. As for the pagans, they have their consolation in thinking that death is a rest from all our trials. Since they think their dead are denied the enjoyment of life, they also think them to be deprived of every faculty of sense and freed from the pain of the hard and continual sorrows we bear in this life. We, on the other hand, just as we should have a more elevated spirit because of the reward we expect, so we should also better bear our pains because of this consolation... Our dead have been sent on, not far from us but before us – they whom death will not take but eternity receive.

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Saint Ambrose (c.340-397), Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church

Mary Magdalene at the Tomb, Antiveduto

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