Bishop Programs

December 2018

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From the Apostolic Administrator

Dear Rev. Fathers/Sisters/Brothers,
As the month of November dawns, the mother Church makes us to wake up to see the feast of All Saints and it is followed by the memory of the “faithful departed”. The focuses of these two celebrations are the “final end” of all of us. The Liturgical year also comes to a climax with the feast of Christ the King during this month. In the light of the future we look into the present. We are ivited during this month to reflect on the four things of our life – Death, Judgement, Hell, Heaven. Death is not an end for a Christian, but it is a passage from one life to another life – from earthly life to a heavenly life. As Pastors and Pastoral assistants we are concerned that this passage be smooth for the dying. Of course it is not easy. A tremendous effort is necessary in order to obtain the grace of saintly death, which means dying in the sanctifying grace.

Saints are those who died accepting the will of god till the end of their life and died in grace-filled life. We are inspired by their shining example, because they were steadfast in their baptismal promise in spite of their struggle and sorrows of this life. Now they are sharing in the Resurrection of Jesus(Rev 7:9-14) and their feast is celebraed as solemnity on 1sr November.

On 2nd November, the memory of the departed souls is celebrated. They also died in the aura of sanctity. But they lack “the garment” to enter heaven and enjoy the beatific vision. These holy souls are helpless since they no longer have free will and they cannot do anything for themselves. Hence they entirely depend on the prayers and sacrifices of those on earth(2 Mac 12). It is indeed a good practice to pray and offer sacrifices for the departed ones so that they may ascend to the throne of God and they will surely intercede for us mortals. Is this not the “communion of saints” that we believe and profess?

Hence during this month of November, let us realize that we are pilgrims on this earth. Everything is transitory and only God is permanenty. We need to grow spiritually in the attitude of detachment from whatever is worldly in our life so that our journey is easy and comfortable. In this pilgrimage, we need to establish a healthy, loving relationshiop with our fellow pilgrims. When our earthly sojourn is over we shall see Him as He is (1Jn 3/1) in our eternal home (2 Cor 5:6-10) where there will be no death (Rev 21:1-7). Hence as people filled with the spirit of the Lord, we need to comfort and encourage one aonther (1Thess 5:11).

From the beginning, the Church has honoured the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice so that thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. St. John Chrysostom says, “Let us help and commemorate them (the departed). If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice (Job 1:4-5) why would we doubt that our offerings for the Lord bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help them who have died and to offer our prayers for them.”

Let us remember and pray in a special way during this month for our beloved ones and those who served the Church, priests, religious and lay people and those who are not remembered by anyone.

Most Rev. Dr. M. Devadass Ambrose
Apostolic Administrator of Tiruchirapalli