Commemoration of All Carmelite Souls
The Roman Missal prays, “In [Jesus] the hope of blessed resurrection has dawned, that those saddened by the certainty of dying, might be consoled by the promise of immortality to come. Indeed, for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven.” (Preface I for the Dead) Join the Carmelites in union with the Church in praying for our beloved dead during the Month of November.
May Our Lady of Mt. Carmel enfold all departed souls in her maternal mantle.
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord.—And let perpetual light shine upon them.
May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.—Amen.
Throughout the month of November, the faithful are invited to recall the memory of our beloved deceased. Traditionally, the Church sets aside November 2nd to Commemorate All Souls and as a religious order, the Order of Carmel observe November 15th to Commemorate All Carmelite Souls. November, being one of the last months of the calendar year, is a reminder for people to take stock of the blessings we have received, but also the fleeting time we are allotted. In the month of November, we remember our beloved dead and are invited to pray for the souls in Purgatory.http://www.carmelites.net/wp-admin/admin.php?page=amp-options
Although the topic of Purgatory may seem taboo, the Catechism of the Catholic Church reassures us, “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (1030). Our Lady of Mount Carmel has been adopted with the devotion of praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Often depicted in various works of art as a helper to the holy souls, Our Lady of Mount Carmel stands as a model and beacon of blessed hope for eternity with God. While in the past Our Lady of Mount Carmel was simply associated with purgatory because of the Sabbatine privilege, the late Fr. Eamon Carroll, O.Carm. asserts, “The Sabbatine privilege is a strong reminder that Mary most faithful will keep her promises to us. Our Blessed Mother will stand by us when God calls us at our final hour, and her love will accompany us even beyond the gates of death. Thanks to the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel we pray with special confidence, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.””[i]
We are instructed in §39 of the Carmelite Constitutions, “To pray for the dead “is a holy and pious thought”;[ii] we shall therefore devoutly remember in the Lord our dead brothers [and sisters], by offering Masses on their behalf and praying for them, so that we may remain in spiritual union with them.” As such, Carmelites in union with the whole Church, pray throughout the year and especially in this Month of November for the Beloved Dead. On November 2nd, 15th, and throughout the month of November, let us hold close in our prayers the many souls of those dear to us who have died and in a special way the souls of the forgotten. We honor and salute the lives of the various characters, giants, saints, rascals, heroes and sinners on whose shoulders and heritage we stand and live as brothers in Carmel and whose legacy we try to continue in the faithful living “in allegiance to Jesus Christ.” While the Church and tradition offers various prayers for the dead, a poem by the late Fr. Joachim Smet, O.Carm. can help us remember and pray for the souls of our beloved departed.
Christ is My House
Christ is my house,
Integrate brick and beam are poised
On him alone.
Christ is my hearth,
The warming fire,
To him I reach the chilly hands
Of my desire.
Christ is the board
Whereat I dine:
Christ is the sole substantial bread;
He is the wine.
Christ is the bed
Whereon I lie:
I should not fear to lay me down,
On him to die.
– Joachim Smet, O.Carm.
June 4, 1939
[i] Rev. Eamon R. Carroll, “An Explanation of the Sabbatine Privilege,” An Explanation of the Sabbatine Privilege | THE WEBSITE OF THE CARMELITE ORDER | WELCOME, accessed October 31, 2020, https://www.ocarm.org/en/content/ocarm/explanation-sabbatine-privilege.
[ii] 2 Macc 12:45
Some other Traditional Prayers for the Dead:
Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory
This Novena, written by St. Alphonsus Liguori, has different prayers for each of the 9 days, followed by the Prayer to Our Suffering Saviour for the Holy Souls in Purgatory which is at the bottom of each section.