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Saturday, November 2, 2013

All Souls' Day: Praying for the Dead

Today is “All Souls Day” in the Catholic Church.  The purpose of All Soul’s Day is to commemorate the faithful departed.  Most specifically those who have died in the last year.

We commemorate them with prayers and Mass -though these things should NOT be limited to All Soul’s Day alone.  We should continue to pray for our dead and have Masses said for them year round to help them should they be in Purgatory.  The Jewish people have prayed for their dead (Kaddishor Kadis) for thousands of years- long before the Catholic Church existed.  So this is not something the Catholic Church made up, nor is it a pagan practice.

Why pray for the dead?

“It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be freed from sins.” (IIMach. 12:46)

Because it helps those in Purgatory who at this point can no longer pray for themselves.  They are in need of prayers and Masses being said for them to complete their purgatory time.

Purgatory is a process (and often considered a place) which the departed on their way to heaven (if you are going the Other Direction you don’t go to Purgatory) are purged of venial sin.  If you have Mortal Sin on your soul at the time of your death… well it’s called “Mortal” for a reason.

Purgatory PURGES and PURIFIES your soul before you can enter Heaven, because as the Sacred Scriptures declare NOTHING impure can enter into Heaven. 

Rev. 21: “ 27 There shall not enter into it anything defiled, or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb.

All must be cleansed and will be purified with fire according to Sacred Scripture: Mark 9:49 “For everyone shall be salted with fire.”

There is even a Purgatory Museum in Rome of artifacts touched by those suffering in Purgatory.

Many misinformed protestants will snarl “Jesus already paid for our sin!” yes He did and that opened the door to Heaven for us.  To enter through the door Jesus opened WE must be pure.  If we have ANY sin on us, we are NOT pure and must be purified.  THAT is Purgatory.

Picture the gates of Heaven open with Jesus in the doorway with His arms wide open.  Between you and Jesus is a fire you must walk through.  Along that walk all the filth of sin is burnt off you and when you walk out on the other side you are like refined gold walking straight into Jesus’ arms.  You’ve just been purified by Purgatory.

Now some people walk through the flames of Purgatory quickly because they have fewer sins on their soul.  Others have many sins and the purifying fires take longer to cleanse them.  While they are “suffering” in Purgatory YOUR prayers and Masses being said actually help them along the way closer to Jesus.  They can’t pray for themselves while in the process of purification, so they depend on the living and Saints in Heaven to REMEMBER them and PRAY for them.  These prayers and Masses said are like bringing them an icy cold drink of water in the heat of the purifying flames.

How do we know these things about Purgatory?  The Saints!  Jesus gave visions of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory to numerous Saints who wrote down what they were shown.  Mary the Mother of God Incarnate herself spoke of Purgatory to the children at Fatima.  Saint Catherine of Genoa talked about the beauty of Purgatory because it was a means God created for people to reach Him with pure cleansed souls and how the suffering in Purgatory are happy to suffer it because of love for God.

Many Catholic mystics (some Saints, some Blessed) also talk about seeing the “ghosts” of Purgatory- or the souls of those in Purgatory.  These can often be the “ghosts” people believe they see- or they can be demon’s set out to trick people, so don’t believe all you THINK you see.

Sister Maria Anna Lindmayr and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich and Saint Gertrude the Great, to name a few, explain that those they’ve seen in Purgatory are often suffering in a specific way for a specific sin.  For instance if in life you were a glutton- eating and drinking excessively into actual sin, the soul was shown to have a nail through his/her mouth while in Purgatory.
I read a story several years ago (wish I could recall what book it was in) about a parish cemetery and the “ghost” of a woman who stood in tattered grave clothes with messy hair upon her grave. She was tethered to that spot as part of her Purgatory suffering.  I believe it was a priest who noticed her and asked what she was doing there.  She told him she was serving her Purgatory in such a state just outside of her parish Church because in life, she had been a vain woman.  When she attended Mass, she would dress in the finest clothes and spend a great deal of time fixing her hair and face to draw attention to herself.  She had caused many to be distracted in her parish Church.  The priest said he would pray for her and he did.  The next time he saw her she had moved from above her grave to the gates of the cemetery.   The priest stopped to speak with her again.  She thanked him for his prayers and asked for more because they had helped her get closer to God in the Church.  The priest agreed and again prayed for her.  The next time he saw her, her hair was tidy and her clothes were no longer tattered but still filthy.  She begged the priest to pray for her and have a Mass said for her.  He agreed.  He then saw that woman one last time, smiling and glowing as she finally stepped over the threshold of the parish Church and disappeared having been relieved of her Purgatory suffering by the prayers and Mass said by the priest.
If the priest hadn’t noticed her or had ignored her, she would still be tethered there because she could not pray for herself and she had been forgotten by everyone else.  There was no one to think of her, to pray for her or to have Masses said for her.  The length of her suffering was shortened because someone prayed for her and had Masses said for her.

This is why we MUST pray for the dead and have Masses said for them!  They need us!  They suffer and will continue to suffer in days, months and years when we neglect to pray for them.

So today and throughout the year PRAY FOR THE DEAD and don’t neglect to have Masses said for them!

Litany for the Poor Souls in Purgatory

O Jesus, Thou suffered and died that all mankind might be saved and brought to eternal happiness. Hear our pleas for further mercy on the souls of:
My dear parents and grandparents,
My brothers and sisters and other near relatives,
My godparents and sponsors of Confirmation,
My spiritual and temporal benefactors,
My friends and neighbors,
All for whom love or duty bids me pray,
Those who have suffered disadvantage or harm through me,
Those who have offended me,
Those whose release is near at hand,
Those who desire most to be united to Thee,
Those who endure the greatest sufferings,
Those whose release is most remote,
Those who are least remembered
Those who are most deserving on account of their services to the Church,
The rich, who are now the most destitute,
The mighty, who are now powerless,
The once spiritually blind, who now see their folly
The frivolous, who spent their time in idleness,
The poor who did not seek the treasures of heaven,
The tepid who devoted little time to prayer,
The indolent who neglected to perform good works,
Those of little faith, who neglected the frequent reception of the Sacraments,
The habitual sinners, who owe their salvation to a miracle of grace,
Parents who failed to watch over their children,
Superiors who were not solicitous for the salvation of those entrusted to them,
Those who strove for worldly riches and pleasures,
The worldly minded, who failed to use their wealth and talent for the service of God,
Those who witnessed the death of others, but would not think of their own,
Those who did not provide for the life hereafter,
Those whose sentence is severe because of the great things entrusted to them,
The popes, kings, and rulers,
The bishops and their counselors,
My teachers and spiritual advisors,
The priests and religious of the Catholic Church,
The defenders of the Holy Faith,
Those who died on the battlefield,
Those who fought for their country,
Those who were buried in the sea,
Those who died of apoplexy,
Those who died of heart attacks,
Those who suffered and died of cancer,
Those who died suddenly in accidents,
Those who died without the last rites of the Church,
Those who shall die within the next twenty-four hours,
My own poor soul when I shall have to appear before Thy judgment seat.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them: For evermore with Thy Saints, because Thou art gracious.
May the prayer of Thy suppliant people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, benefit the souls of Thy departed servants and handmaids: that Thou mayest both deliver them from all their sins, and make them to be partakers of Thy redemption. Amen.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine on them. Amen.
May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

In Christ,

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

To learn more about Purgatory, I highly recommend the following books:

-"The Life of Anne Catherine Emmerich (Volumes 1 and 2)" by the Very Reverend Carl E. Schmoger, C.SS.R.

-"Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages and Warnings from Purgatory" by Gerard J.M. Van Den Aardweg

-"Visions of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory" by Bob and Penny Lord

And anything with the writings of St. Catherine of Genoa or Saint Gertrude the Great.


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