Benedictine All Souls Day

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Praying for the Dead

It is a cherished monastic tradition to pray for the dead. Some monasteries still hold to the old custom of praying an entire Psalter (all 150 Psalms) for the dead, concluding each psalm with the verse, "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them."

Spiritual Combat

Tomorrow's Mass (Monday, 14 November 2011) will be offered for all the departed who soldiered under the Rule of Saint Benedict. The Christian life is marked by spiritual combat. "For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph 6:12).

Souls Stained and Scarred

The monk, the nun, or the oblate living in the world engages in spiritual combat by making use of the seventy-four tools of good works enumerated in Chapter Four of the Rule of Saint Benedict. It is not surprising that, at the end of a life of spiritual combat, a soul should be stained and scarred by the struggles sustained over a lifetime. God, in His infinite mercy, provides a respite of purification and of detachment from the residue of sin still clings to a combatant's soul. Souls in this state of purification wait for those who knew them and loved them--or struggled with them--on earth to come to their help.

The Veterans of Spiritual Combat

After death, then, the veterans of spiritual combat are not abandoned by their monastic family. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, psalmody, and the prayer of the Rosary hasten their purification and obtain a speedy deliverance into "the land of the living" where the light of glory shines from the Face of Christ.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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