I would like to share with you about some souls who have become very special friends of mine. This may sound funny, or even crazy to some, but it is very real to me,and Iím convinced of the truth of it.
Iíve grown to love these friends very deeply through the years as I began praying for them, because I knew they were suffering greatly to varying degrees.
And then I found that at times in my life, when I experienced different sufferings, I would turn to these friends as well, knowing they would understand. I knew they would be able to pray for me in my sufferingÖ not trying to fix me or judge me for anything, but just to support me amidst it.
And these friends that Iíve become so close to are actually the Holy Souls in purgatory. Oh what a blessing it is when we, the Church Militant here on earth, can connect with the other two sects of the body of Christ, who we canít normally see physically, but can be connected with spiritually. They are: the Church Triumphant – those who have gone before us who are now saints in Heaven; and the Church Suffering – those who have gone before us who are being purified and prepared for Heaven.
I remember a season in my life when I would exercise almost daily at a cemetery near where I lived. And, during that time Iíd always pray intensely for the souls in purgatory. It got to the point where, as I was on my way to the cemetery and began thinking of them and praying for them, I could sense a certain spirit of celebration among them, because they knew of the graces theyíd receive through my intercession.
November 2 is the feast day of the Holy Souls in Purgatory in the Catholic Church calendar. And the whole month of November is devoted in a special way to praying for the Holy Souls (though it is our obligation to pray for them throughout the whole year).
The Church teaches that, "All who die in Godís grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven" (CCC 1030)*.
The Church also says that the souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves (as we can), but can pray for others. And they so desire us to pray for them. We are responsible for praying for our loved ones who have gone before us. I know homilies at funerals can at times give the impression that our loved ones are now happy in Heaven, but we donít know that. And it has been said the not many souls do go straight to Heaven.
Better safe than sorry. I know I want my loved ones to remember to pray for me after I die, because I may not be given the grace, as most arenít, to come back and remind them (so hear me out now).
Through the years Iíve made a pact with the Holy Souls: I pray for them frequently - at Holy Mass, Stations of the Cross, the Rosary; and in return I ask them to pray for my intentions (which are often for other people). Itís a win, win situationÖ and probably a much greater win for me, because I have ALL the Holy Souls in purgatory praying for my intentions.
And, when I remember, as I dip my finger in the Holy Water to bless myself, I pray that a drop of this Holy Water will fall upon the Holy Souls as well, to refresh them. No doubt they appreciate any graces we send their way.
I share these things with you in no way to brag about my prayers for the Holy Souls, but to brag about our need to pray for them; and to give ideas and reminders of how to keep them in prayer.
I bet theyíre very happy about this article going out. Oh, and I did call upon the deceased relatives and friends of everyone in St. Charles Parish to intercede for you, so that you will be inspired to pray for your loved ones still in need, whether through this article or otherwise.
The following is a powerful prayer approved by the Catholic Church that Jesus gave to St. Gertrude, to aid in the release of 1000 (symbolizing an infinite number) Holy Souls in purgatory, each time it is prayed from the heart (this isnít to say which souls God is choosing to release, or what the actual number really is):
+"Eternal Father, I offer you the Precious Blood of your Divine Son Jesus, in union with all the holy Masses said throughout the world today, for the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, within our own homes and within our own families."+
Next week Iíll address the grave difference between what Iíve shared above and the activity of spiritists, channelers and psychics who actually delve into very dangerous territory, opening doors to demons.
*The specific doctrine on Purgatory was especially formulated at the Councils of Florence and Trent using specific Scriptural references, among them- 2Mac 12:39-45.
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