“Let us all rejoice in the Lord, as we celebrate the feast day in honor of all the Saints, at whose festival the Angels rejoice and praise the Son of God.”
—Entrance antiphon for the Feast of All Saints
As the “ber” months continue, so does the expectation of the lovely annual undas. I say “lovely” because in both a spiritual and human sense, Undas makes the cut, together with Christmas and Holy Week. We join billions of the faithful around the world in commemorating the triumph of the saints already in heaven (the Church triumphant) and praying for those still in purgatory (the Church suffering). Here are my quick tips on how you can make this year’s still a meaningful one, despite it being online.
Light some candles in a suitable place
One doesn’t have to be physically present in the tombs of the faithful departed to be able to pray and remember them. That is the awesome power of prayer: Philosophically speaking, we are spiritual beings, and we have that power to pray to God from everywhere. Perhaps you could light a candle while watching an online Mass on Nov. 2 (All Souls’ Day), where the Liturgy is tailored specifically for the faithful departed. Just be sure that they burn in a safe place!
Or, if you could, go in person to a church. (I really admire the faith of those who can’t go inside a church because it’s on lockdown or what not and yet still stand in prayer outside. A public witness to faith!) A lot of Catholic churches have columbaries in them, so there’ll likely be a place to light candles and just stay for a few minutes.
Rediscover the Liturgy of the Hours
Ever heard of the term vespers, compline and other such Catholic jargon? I didn’t, too, until a few years ago.
Every single day, those in the ordained ministry, among others, are obligated to pray what’s called the Divine Office or the Liturgy of the Hours. It consists of prayers—a lot of psalms, among others—that are prayed on certain times during the day. Vespers, for example, is evening prayer, and that’s prayed around 5:30 and 6 p.m. Prayers during vespers are tailored on the occasion. So, if you’re praying vespers on
Nov. 1—All Saints’ Day—the prayers will revolve strongly around the victory of the Church triumphant. It’s a most beautiful tradition.
If you wish to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, you may easily look up iBreviary online. It’s a free resource filled with lots of prayers and even the text of the Mass in different languages.
Reach out to family and friends
And finally, we can’t leave the human aspect out of undas. What we love about it is going to cemeteries with our loved ones and spending hours there with them. Sadly, we still can’t do that for the most part now, but we can still reach out.
Share a story, a few photos maybe, of those who’ve gone before on the family group chat.
Allow everyone to remember the beauty of the lives of those who are important to us. Let the young ones reminisce their lola who’d passionately give them ice cream and candy on Sundays. Undas is a very human event, so let’s all—regardless of religion—take advantage of it.
I wish you a wonderful and blessed undas! As the nights get longer, the temperatures a little chillier, and as the parol start coming out as Christmas fast approaches, let us not forget that while we are alive, there will always be hope.
The author is pursuing his masters in Catholic Studies with the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.
Get the latest lifestyle news delivered to your inbox