6th May

All Souls Are Loved

They are yours, O Lord, you lover of souls. Wisdom 2:26

God has put within us a need to recollect, from time to time, those people who, though now dead, have loved or influenced us: to remember them, to savour them, to talk to God about them, and perhaps to complete a grieving process. Today, why not remember these in a few moments of silence, thank God for them, and keep them in mind throughout the day?

What a comfort it is if we know that these dear ones died united to Christ. But what of those who gave no sure sign of this, whose faith at the moment of death was known to God alone? Celtic Christians believed, as the Bible teaches, that God’s attitude towards all dead people is like the attitude an earthly mother takes to all her children – she longs to draw them close to her. This still leaves the decision whether to reject or respond to that love to the person concerned, but it means that when we think about the dead in our prayers we picture God wooing them.

Hail, sister! May you live in God.
On a 4th. century tombstone at York.

Since it was you, O Christ, who bought this soul –
At the time it gave up its life
At the time of pouring sweat
At the time of returning to clay
At the time of the shedding of blood
At the time of severing the breath
At the time you delivered judgement –
May your peace be on your ingathering of souls
Jesus Christ, Son of gentle Mary
Your peace be upon your own ingathering.
High king of the holy angels
Take possession of the beloved soul
And guide it home to the Three of limitless love
Yes, to the Three of limitless love.
Carmina Gadelica, adapted