Three Reasons to LOVE the Holy Souls in Purgatory
Today we celebrate the Feast of All Souls, and I apologize if referring to them as my “friends in low places” leaves a Garth Brooks song stuck in your head all day. Hey, there are worse things, right? Especially if you pray for the Holy Souls when you sing it.
The Holy Souls are actually better off than we are! Why? They are assured of their salvation; their eternal end is in sight.
What’s your take on Purgatory? I know that not everyone believes in the need for it, but I do and I have a great devotion to these souls. It’s not as good as it could be, mind you, but we do have traditions that I hope bear fruit…for them and also for our family.
“Hey,” I’ve been known to tell my kids, “You get a soul out of purgatory and you’ve got a friend for life!”
“For life?” my 16-year-old retorted dryly, and I laughed.
“Well, it’s not for death,” I said, taking the bait. “Death’s an illusion, anyway. Our souls are eternal and death’s the transition.”
And yet, it’s hard for us to talk about death and it’s unbelievably hard to lose someone we love. My devotion to the Holy Souls is one way that I stay close to them–to my grandparents, my niece, my cousin, my former student.
(As a side note, I have a special devotion to the tormented souls who take their own life. What a sad thought to be in such darkness! Robin Williams is a famous example, but I have many other in my family.)
Here’s our challenge, then: Today and throughout the whole of November, let’s renew our devotion to these beloved souls who need our love and attention to push them through. Why? Here are 3 reasons. I’m sure there are more.
1. The Holy Souls need us to pray for them. Honestly, we do a great disservice to canonize a loved one at his/her funeral because the poor souls cannot pray for themselves.
Having a Mass (or Masses!) said for the deceased is one of the very best things we can do for them. We can assist at these Masses and/or offer up our holy communions for them.
This prayer, too, by St. Gertrude the Great is especially effective, and is said to release 1,000 souls every time it’s said:
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.
2. If we pray for them, they will pray for us. They can’t pray for themselves but they can intercede for us and our families.
They love us, quite frankly, because more often than not, they are our family. I talk to my beloved Aunt Lila all the time, not knowing of course where exactly she’s at but trusting that she can hear and help me.
3. Finally, the Holy Souls in Purgatory inspire us to be better. I have read (in the book shown above, one of my favorites, but you can get the gist of it here) that one of the best ways to avoid purgatory is to love, love and love some more! In other words, if you’re harboring a good bit of bitterness in your heart, well…
Move past it, my friend.
Forgive and forget.
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If you are interested in learning even more about purgatory, there is a little book available on Amazon Kindle called Read Me or Rue It.
An ominous title, no? But it’s a good little tome and only costs $1.40. And then, if you’re interested in learning even more and would like a beautiful hard copy to hold in your hands, I recommend Praying with the Saints for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Eternal rest grant unto them, oh Lord! And may the perpetual light shine upon them.
Related, for those who would like to learn still more about this devotion: