Go Forth, Christian Soul


As I write this, I am still grieving the passing of my mother Betty, who left this world on September 24, 2014 after a valiant struggle with various health issues. Born in the Philippines, and a World War II survivor she came to America with my dad in the 1950s, raised nine children, and saw her family grow to include nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. What an amazing life! Most of all, she was a woman whose deep faith saw her through the trials, sorrows and joys of her 81 years.

Burying a mother is probably one of the hardest things a family can do. We get accustomed to death as we grow older, but the loss of the mother who bore you and raised you is especially difficult. As a professional liturgist I am already in the midst of planning for All Souls Day and for my first Christmas without mom. Though I know that life goes on, this is not going to be easy.

The whole arc of our Church’s celebration of All Saints Day and All Souls Day is predicated on our belief in a faith community that continues beyond death. The Communion of Saints intercedes for us, and their heroic faith witness inspires us. On All Souls Day we remember our beloved dead and pray for them because we believe our prayers can assist them in being more open to God’s loving mercy. For Catholics, purgatory is that intermediate state of afterlife in which God patiently waits for souls who are not quite ready to accept his loving invitation to live with him in eternity.

It’s not as simple as all that. We really don’t know exact details of the afterlife but scripture and tradition give us some hints that are confirmed by the witness of our Risen Savior. It is my belief in Jesus Christ that gives me hope that I will one day be reunited with my mother, my father, and my brother who have all gone ahead before me.

Even with my faith, the loss of my mother fills me with sorrow. But, it helps me to remember that this life on earth is only transitory—that we will all move on to something greater when our time comes. I find some consolation in “Go Forth” written by my friend Trevor Thomson. It’s a lovely song that truly comforts me and I am blessed to share it with you now. What songs bring comfort in your times of deep sorrow?

Go forth, Christian soul from this world
in the name of God.
Go forth, go forth, beautiful one.


Fly away with the angels,
with the aid of the holy ones,
to the place where tears are washed away,
to the place where love abides.

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