ATURDAY OF THE
Saturday of the Souls Before Meatfare/Judgement Sunday
Since it often happens that certain people suffer death prematurely, in a foreign land, at sea, on trackless mountains, on precipices, in chasms, in famines, wars, conflagrations, and cold weather, and all manner of other deaths; and perhaps, being poor and without resources, they have not been vouchsafed the customary Psalter Readings and Memorial Services, moved by Love for mankind, the Divine Fathers ordained that the Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates all people, which is a Holy Tradition inherited from our Lord Jesus Christ’s Holy Apostles. This is in order that those who - due to some particular circumstance - did not receive the customary obsequies
individually, might be included in the present General Commemoration, indicating that whatever is done on their behalf confers great Benefit on all concerned, which is one reason why the Holy Church of God performs the Commemoration of Souls. A second reason is that, since our Holy Church Fathers intended, as is fitting, to assign the observance of the Second Coming of Christ to the following day – Meatfare/Judgement Sunday - they appointed a Commemoration of All Souls on this day, as if propitiating
(APPEASING OR SATISFYING THE NEEDS OF )
the Dread and Unerring Judge to show them His innate Compassion and place them in the Promised Paradise of Delight. A third reason is that, since they intended to expound
the Banishment of Adam on the following Sunday of Cheesefare – Sunday of Foregiveness - they devised the present Commemoration, on this day of rest, as a respite from, and end of all human affairs, so that they might start from the beginning, that is, the Banishment of Adam—because the Final Event that we will experience is the Examination by the Impartial Judge of all the deeds that we have committed in our lifespan—and so that, thereby putting the fear of our Final Judgement into mankind, they might make us ready for the Contests of the Great Lenten Fast. We always Commemorate souls on Saturday, because ‘
(Sabbath) means “
” in Hebrew; and since the departed souls are resting from worldly and all other cares, we offer Supplications for them also on the day of rest, which is customary for us to do every Saturday – and today we observe a Universal Commemoration, beseeching God for all the Pious and Faithful Christians. Our Holy Church Fathers - knowing well that what is done on behalf of the reposed - that is, Memorial Services, Almsgiving, and Liturgies - which affords them great Respite and Benefit - allow the Church (i.e. the Faithful Disciples of Christ) to do so on both an individual and a general basis - a Holy Tradition which we have received from the Holy Apostles of Christ. We must always observe these things, therefore - whether the deceased are unrepentant sinners or not - so that we might obtain for them Forgiveness of their sins - or if they are Righteous souls, so that we all might gain additional Rewards. Even if they are strangers and without means, and thus have no one to take care of them, God, in His Righteousness and Love for all mankind, will provide for them on account of their penury (destitution) in proportion to the Mercy that He sees on our part. Besides, those who make Offerings on behalf of such individuals partake of the Reward, since they have shown concern for the Salvation of their neighbours. In fact, those who do not fulfill what is Commanded and enjoined in such situations will assuredly bring severe, Eternal Judgement and Condemnation upon themselves.
Appoint a place in the Tabernacles of Thy Righteous for the souls of those who have departed before us, O Christ our Master, and have Mercy on us, for Thou alone art Immortal. Amen.
ATURDAY OF THE
souls to dominate our weak flesh so that we can become the Spiritual Beings as God created us to be
. During any Fasting period we cannot participate in any festivities so weddings, dances, and
all forms of Spiritually unbeneficial entertainments, etc are avoided
– making time to
contemplate God and all His Goodness
attending the Holy Services
doing Good Deeds
of Compassion and Love for others.
from certain food and all pleasures of the flesh helps us to overcome our physical desires and
strengthens our free will
. At the same time we must
strive even harder to fulfil the Spiritual Fast
, which is a strict Spiritual Vigil over our heart and soul - we must conscously and vigourously fight against all evil thoughts that lead to evil words and evil deeds. Both the physical and the Spiritual Fast is important. The physical Fast is short-lived while our Spiritual Fast should be constantly observed and undertaken every day of our lifespan. To be Victorious over the demands of our thoughts, our words and our actions – our flesh - is a much greater accomplishment and far more difficult than merely resisting certain food. It is a
True Spiritual Victory that is only possible by Divine Grace and sincere Prayers.
We are unable to achieve anything worthwhile without a strong character, Faith, a determined free will, noble thoughts, and perseverance.
Nothing is accomplished without proper preparation, determination and a willingness to “get it right.”
Fasting is exremely important to us, because it helps us to nurture and reinforce that which God created us to be : humble and Obedient Children of God and Co-Heirs with Christ to His Eternal Kingdom of Love
. Fasts give us essential momentary pauses in the mindless daily rush - to take a deep breath and
to really think about what is actually important
to realise thatwe have such a short time before Eternity and that we need to take advantage of everything God has given us to improve our Immortal Souls.
May God grant us all the Spiritual Strength and determiniation to fulfil the Fasts worthily.