The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)

There was a Trilogy written by a Catholic author, that was made into a movie and is very good, The Lord of the Rings.[1] There is a section of the Lord of the Rings where they talk about a beautiful kingdom built into the side of a mountain, very compact. This kingdom is about to be under siege by tremendous forces; those who are coming against this beautiful city to destroy it appear to be demons from Hell and they are massing in tremendous numbers. There is a man in charge of the city but he is not able to rule as he should.

The whole trilogy is about the king returning to the city to rule it. No one knows if the heir is alive and they don’t know for sure how they are going to positively identify the king but there are certain hints. The heir reveals himself just as he hears about the planned destruction of his kingdom. It appears that he will arrive too late. You see, where he and his men are, in order to get back to the city, they have to travel over, around, under, or through a mountain. In this mountain are caverns that have been carved out under the mountain but the problem with that is that the element of these who were supposed to have come to the aid of the kingdom years before did not support the kingdom as they pledged and Tolkien has them wondering around beneath this mountain and the only one that can release them is the king or his heir.

The king decides to go under the mountain and the men with him have to take their lives in their own hands and in faith, follow their king under the mountain. They get about half way and this great army of the living-dead come upon them and of course like everyone else who has tried to go through there were pounced on. But the king told these living-dead that he was binding them to the promise that they gave years before and that if they would fulfill their pledge this day and protect the kingdom from attack, then he will grant them their freedom and they can go to their eternal rest.

The king’s vast army of the living-dead proved to be tremendously helpful in liberating the city and conquering these demon-like creatures from taking over the kingdom from men. At the end of the battle when the great demon-like creatures have been destroyed and are strewn all over the battlefield and the kingdom is safe, the king releases the living-dead men who have fulfilled their pledge and they disappear.

The use of this image by Tolkien is a glance over his shoulder at the Doctrine of the souls in Purgatory.

When we understand the great many people who end up in purgatory, such as our relatives and friends, we are called upon to respond in mercy and charity.

On this All Souls Day we are asked to remember that we have members of our Church who are in need of our prayers, who are dependent upon our prayers, who are waiting for our prayers.

We have an obligation to them to assist them. In these our days when Purgatory is being denied, let us renew and redouble our efforts to bring our deceased brothers and sisters home to Heaven, especially those that are most forgotten and have no one to pray for them ■

[1] The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by the English philologist J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit (1937), but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, much of it during World War II. Although intended as a single-volume work, it was originally published in three volumes in 1954 and 1955, due to post-war paper shortages, and it is in this three-volume form that it is popularly known. It has since been reprinted numerous times and translated into many different languages, becoming one of the most popular and influential works in 20th-century literature.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris