“Jesus Himself revealed that the death of the body is like a sleep from which He will awaken us. It’s nice to think that Jesus Himself will awaken us,” said Pope Francis Sunday.
November 2 marked the feast of All Souls Day, a commemoration of the faithful departed and a day when Catholics often visit cemeteries to pray for the eternal rest of the deceased. In his midday Angelus message, Francis spoke of the Christian belief in life after death.
“The memory of the dead, care of graves, and prayers for the dead bear witness of a confident hope, rooted in the certainty that death does not have the last word over human destiny,” the Pope said, “since man is called to a life without limits, which has its roots and its fulfillment in God.”
Francis noted that the remembrance of the dead brings both joy and tears. “On the one hand,” he said, “the Church, a pilgrim in history, rejoices through the intercession of the saints and blessed who support the mission of proclaiming the Gospel.” On the other hand, he went on, “like Jesus, she shares the tears of those who suffer the separation from loved ones.” The Church also, like Jesus, “echoes the thanks to the Father Who has delivered us from the dominion of sin and death.”
Francis commended the practice of visiting the graves of loved ones, who have loved us and assisted us. At the same time, he said, “Today, we are called to remember all, even those who no one remembers.” He mentioned in particular “the victims of war and violence, the many “little ones” in the world crushed by hunger and misery, and the anonymous resting in common graves.” Francis suggested remembering in a special way those who died during this past year.