Every month, Holy Mother Church gives us opportunities to direct our devotions and prayers to a specific subject. The entire month of November is dedicated to praying for the holy souls that are destined for Heaven, but are undergoing purification in Purgatory. It’s not just a one-day thing we do on November 2 and in fact, it shouldn’t just be a November thing either. But, since we often forget, the Church has given us November to specifically focus on this task.
In fact, it is a task that is one of our main jobs as one part of the three main tiers of the Church. We here on earth are the Church Militant, the saints in Heaven are the Church Triumphant, and the souls in Purgatory are the Church Suffering. Just as the Church Triumphant (the saints) helps out the Church Militant (us), we have the responsibility to help the souls in the Church Suffering to get to their place in Heaven. It’s a circle. And our responsibility is especially pressing because the souls in Purgatory cannot help themselves get out by praying for themselves. They rely on us and our prayers and sacrifices to free them. Yes, Heaven is the destiny of these souls, so they will get there eventually, but the faster they get there and can have their suffering and longing for God put to an end and finally behold His Face, the better. And praying for them is a task given to us by God, so we will surely have to render an account of how we performed this task after our death. And besides, these souls include our loved ones and friends. Wouldn’t we want to end their suffering and get them to God as soon as possible?
Other devotions we encounter throughout the year, like the month of Mary in May and the month for the Holy Rosary in October, point to something that deserves honor and devotion from the faithful. But this devotion is different in that it is something that we can actively get involved in to change. We can do something to improve the life and dynamic of the Church as a whole by praying to get the souls in Purgatory to their ultimate goal and destination, which is Heaven. And like I said, it’s not just something that we can do, but it’s something that we must do. It is a duty given to us by God as part of His Body, the Church. We must assist His other members in forming and supporting the functioning of that Church, just as parts of the human body work together to form a functioning person. There are many things we can do to get the souls in Purgatory to Heaven:
- Above all, pray for them. The Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy can be especially effective.
- Have Masses said for them. It can be a Mass offered for a particular person who has died or a general Requiem Mass interceding for all of the faithful departed.
- Offer up your daily trials and crosses for the souls of the faithful departed, even the small things, particularly during the month of November.
- Whenever you pass a cemetery, say this prayer: “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.” You can also do this whenever you first hear or read about the death of someone, whether from the news, social media, or someone in person.
Always remember to pray for the dead, and not just during the month of November, but every day. They’re counting on you.
Have a blessed month!