“Dear Brothers and Sisters, today, the day after the Solemnity of All Saints, the Church invites us to pray for the faithful departed. This yearly commemoration, often marked by visits to the cemetery, is an occasion to ponder the mystery of death and to renew our faith in the promise of eternal life held out to us by Christ’s resurrection.
As human beings, we have a natural fear of death and we rebel against its apparent finality. Faith teaches us that the fear of death is lightened by a great hope, the hope of eternity, which gives our lives their fullest meaning. The God who is love offers us the promise of eternal life through the death and resurrection of his Son. In Christ, death no longer appears as an abyss of emptiness, but rather a path to life which will never end.
Christ is the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in him will never die. Each Sunday, in reciting the Creed, we reaffirm our faith in this mystery. As we remember our dear departed ones, united with them in the communion of the saints, may our faith inspire us to follow Christ more closely and to work in this world to build a future of hope.
I offer a warm welcome to the priests from the United States taking part in the Institute for Continuing Theological Education at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
My greeting also goes to the pilgrimage group from Saint Paul’s High School in Tokyo, Japan. Upon all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience, especially those from Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Japan and the United States, I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!”