Saturday, January 06, 2007

January & February 2007

Dear Prayer Warriors,

This month we will be giving a definition of Purgatory for all those who have joined us recently. This is a much misunderstood doctrine among Catholics. Many believe that Purgatory is a second chance to be saved, or that they can sin all they want and still be saved through Purgatory.
Purgatory exists as a result of God's mercy. The requirements for entering Heaven are very high because "nothing unclean will enter it" (Revelation 21:27). To go directly to Heaven you must be completely free from the stain of sin. What this means is that you cannot have any unrepented venial sin in your life, you must have fully paid the penalty for all of your sins, and you can have no attachments to the world that take you away from God (i.e. materialism, jealousy, hatred, etc.). With this in mind you can see how difficult it is to avoid Purgatory, but with the grace of God it can be done.

The purpose of Purgatory is to purge us of all our unrepented sins, atone for all of the unexpiated sins in our life, and remove all worldliness from us so that we can fully love God and each other. Once the stain of sin has been completely removed, the blessed soul will enter glory and full communion with God in Heaven.

There have been many debates on where Purgatory is. Some say that it is by the gates of Heaven, others say that it is located in an area of Hell. Still, others say that Purgatory is not a physical place but a mental state of purification. The fact is that no one really knows if it is the latter or the former, the Church has not made any infallible declarations on this. All that we know is that it does exist. This is what the Church has been teaching from the time of the Apostles.

The purification process in Purgatory is painful. The souls there see how their sins have separated them from God and deeply regret what they have done. Even venial sin causes them suffering because although it is a minor sin, it does offend God since it is disobedience to His will. The holy souls have an intense desire to be in Heaven but are prevented entry because of their impurities. This also causes great pain within them. They plead, "out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Lord hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to my supplication" (Psalm 130:1,2). Even though the souls suffer greatly, they also have a great joy within their hearts from the hope that one day they will be in Heaven. St. Catherine of Genoa said that "apart from the happiness of the saints in heaven, I think there is no joy comparable to that of the souls in Purga tory". Still, with this in mind, we need to help them.

Prayers for the dead have been occurring since the Old Testament times. The Jews believed that it was "a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins" (2 Maccabees 12:45). Praying for the dead is one of the seven spiritual works of mercy. There are many devotions to help the holy souls. The greatest one is the Mass. This is the most powerful prayer we can participate in and if we only have one devotion to the holy souls, this should be it. More souls are freed through the Mass than by any other prayer. Please remember to pray for the holy souls during each Mass you attend.

The second most powerful prayer is the rosary. The repetitive simplicity of this devotion hides its greatness. We will cover the various prayers for the holy souls in future issues of this newsletter. This month, we present the prayer given to St. Gertrude the Great that releases 1000 souls from Purgatory each time it is said. This would be a good prayer to memorize.

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.

In order to have full communion with God, Mary plays an important role in our spiritual life. It is difficult to have a true devotion to Jesus apart from a true devotion to Mary. If you really want to help the souls in Purgatory, you need to do it with Mary's intercession.

What does Mary have to do with the souls in Purgatory? Why pray to her? Mary is very concerned with the holy souls because they, like all Christians, are her children. Jesus made her our spiritual mother when, while crucified, He told His disciple John "behold your mother" (John 19:27). Like all mothers, she does not like to see her children suffer and would do anything possible to help stop their suffering. She would like to take her children out of Purgatory as quickly as possible.

Mary's intercession to God can provide relief for the holy souls in Purgatory. At times, she will go to Purgatory as a result of our prayers to comfort the people there. If we cooperate with Mary, we can release many souls and give them eternal joy in Heaven.

Purgatory is meant for Catholics and non-Catholics who are destined for Heaven but cannot enter due to the stain of sin in their soul. A Catholic may be fortunate to have loved ones offer prayers for them while in Purgatory to shorten their time there. Non-Catholics most likely have no one to pray for them due to a lack of belief in Purgatory.. This is a tragedy but there are prayers offered for all souls in Purgatory in each Mass. We as individuals must not forget those who have no one to pray for them. Even Catholics in Purgatory may eventually have no one to pray directly for them as their family and friends gradually put it aside, thinking that years after their death they must surely be in Heaven by now. As a wonderful act of charity and mercy, always remember your family and friends when you pray for the dead.

We all have experienced losing our loved ones. They could be our father, mother, brothers, sisters, grandparents or anybody that we love so much. Remember the last time we saw them. Who could hold back the tears. We cried painfully because we love them so much. They have just started their journey in the spiritual world. Their souls didn't die, only their bodies departed from their souls.

This is the time God would open their BOOK OF LIFE. From the moment of their birth until the day they died, their Guardian Angel had written everything they had done. This will determined the state of their souls. Where could they be? Heaven, Purgatory or Hell. Many of us, I believe, do little for our departed ones. We forget that now they have NO FREE WILL and cannot help themselves. They must rely on the prayers of the living for a speedy exit from Purgatory. If we cannot remember them, then who will remember them?

When was the last time you prayed for them? They are crying for our prayers painfully. Do you know how long these souls stay in Purgatory? It all depends how fast they can pay their debt. It could be 10, 30, 50, 70 or even 100 years. It could be even longer if nobody prays for them at all.

The Poor/Holy Souls are suffering bitterly. Let�s pray for them. Include them in our Rosary prayers. Give them Masses, as many as you can. When they are finally released from their sufferings and enjoy the beatitude of heaven, the Holy Souls will repay us a thousand times over.

News from the Central Office
Dear Friends - As we are ready to begin a New Year, we at the Central Office wish all Prayer Warriors a peaceful and healthy New Year. Many of you have so kindly sent us the listings in your church bulletins and newspapers of the deceased to be enrolled in the Golden Book for which we thank you. We will continue to enroll them as long as you keep sending them. We also thank you for the financial support you have given us this past year.
Jessamine, one of the Prayer Warriors, sent us the following suggestions:

�Every time we are waiting in line, watching TV during commercials, stuck in traffic in the car or commuting, exercising/working out, we can recite or pray the St. Gertrude prayer. That way, we are very efficient. We don't get to waste time, and we are helping the holy souls. A very wonderful way to make use of our 'wait time'.�

Any time, yes, anytime is the �opportune� time to pray for our dear Souls in Purgatory.

With a new year upon us may we invite you to opening another door to freedom for the �Poor Souls�. We invite you to give a special gift to a soul or souls by making a holy hour for their release from the purifying prison of Purgatory. Would you join us in this �New Year Resolution� as Friends of the Poor Souls�? In the meantime, may the Poor Souls intercede for you and your intentions to our Father in Heaven. They will be the first to come to welcome you in Heaven because of your generosity.


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

Friends of the Poor Souls
Established September 15, 2004

Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

Robert & Mary Ann Luetkemeyer, Coordinators

For more information




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