The essence of immortality


The secular world has affected our religious observations.

Catholics now equate Christmas as mere “gift-giving” (though nothing wrong there) and youngsters expect Santa Claus more than Jesus.Halloween night on October 31 is observed with devilish masks and outfits when it is the evening where, supposedly, the little angels -angelitos- including our child relatives dying before the age of innocence- visit us.

Hallow-in fact means “holy”- and een (evening).So why do we scare ourselves to death on Halloween? We even joke that “we must visit the dead or the dead will visit us.” That’s why Cardinal Chito Tagle warned us not to treat it as a costume party, although admittedly some folks around do not need masks to scare us.

Sound electronic systems have been banned from these burial places, otherwise even the dead might hip hop and tango to the sound of loud music.

Todos los muertes – Day of the Dead- All Souls Day, we celebrate is observed with tradition by Catholics, whose relatives have a big reunion day with festive food to visit their dearly departed. They refurbish the graves or repaint them white from dust and being weather-beaten – which is fine.

Others are less fortunate , in Yolanda-stricken places, they observed it earlier than us by visiting mass graves while 250 boy scouts planted small Philippine flags in over nameless war heroes’ graves- who no longer have relatives to visit them at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani.

People live and die, regardless. Some go ahead of others- but there will be a final reunion, many wishing this not be soon enough. But the true essence of All Souls Day for Christians, lest we forget, is to be reminded about the immortality of man’s soul.

And this belief in the “forever”can only find meaning if we believe in an Eternal God.He has been there from the beginning of times-until forever. In fact He has no beginning, no end- He is the Alpha and the Omega.

The true meaning of All Souls Day is the renewed belief that while we honor the mortal endings of friends and relatives- we rejoice in the existence of an after-life. Not imbibing that belief would make all our earthly days restless; to do- so results in calmness all the days of our earthly lives.

We have heard of people in near-death situations -seeing and hearing the wondrous existence of a Heaven – for us to suspend our belief in the life ever after. Secular life has “triumphantly” even given birth to a trillion dollar wellness and longevity (how to live longer) industry. But no matter how Science tries to defy Nature placed by God- all, and everyone, will die someday.

As an indictment to us all ,we all profess to be wanting to see God, but no one of us really wants to die -that is why we take prescription and maintenance medicines. But, perhaps, that is human nature- that is why it is not called- divine.

Christ’s own resurrection and His own Ascension proved the indestructibility of the soul.

In observing Commemoration of All Faithful Departed- let us not only pray for and seek intercession from our departed loved ones -but let us also meditate on our own souls. Before we dream of playing card games and exchange fun with them in Heaven , we must make sure we are all journeying to their same direction by taking care of our souls. All Souls Day, therefore, – is for all of us with souls. Shalom!

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Todos los Santos, Feast of All Martyred in the Faith- or All Saints Day- is observed as we honor some of the world’s most popular saints like : St Paul,the Apostle, Mother Teresa, Mary, the Mother of God, St Joseph, the angels St Michael and Gabriel, St Augustine, St Patrick , St Peter, St Francis de Assisi, St Athanaxius, St Catherine , St Joan of Arc and intercessors. St Philomena, Padre Pio and our Lady of Perpetual Help. In modern history, the recent popes declared saints were not necessarily martyred.

The Philippines has two saints blessed in St Lorenzo Ruiz, killed in Nagasaki Japan and St Pedro Calungsod, killed in Micronesia for their strong faith and belief in the Cross.

We end the celebrations with a jocular note about a priest and a taxi driver who were rewarded places in heaven as God promised to have in it- many,different mansions.

A bit puzzled, a priest who run a parish church complained to St Peter why he had a boungalow and the lowly taxi driver had a lofty mansion with manicured trees .St Peter calmly answered:” Our God is always a Just God. You see, father, whenever you gave a sermon in your parish, all the faithful slept; while when this driver drives his taxi, all the passengers pray to God for deliverance”. Shalom!

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