November & December 2008
Dear Friends of the Holy Souls in Purgatory,
November—the whole month is dedicated to the Poor Souls in Purgatory. Below is part of the Pope’s General Audience of Wednesday, August 4, 1999.
Purgatory Is Necessary Purification
Following John Paul II’s catecheses on Heaven and Hell, the Holy Father reflected on Purgatory.
For those who find themselves in a condition of being open to God, but still imperfectly, the journey towards full beatitude requires a purification, which the faith of the Church illustrates in the doctrine of "Purgatory" (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1030-1032).
Before we enter into full communion with God, every trace of sin within us must be eliminated and every imperfection in our soul must be corrected. To share in divine life we must be totally purified.
Every trace of attachment to evil must be eliminated, every imperfection of the soul corrected. Purification must be complete, and indeed this is precisely what is meant by the Church's teaching on Purgatory.
Those, in fact, who find themselves in the state of purification are united both with the blessed who already enjoy the fullness of eternal life, and with us on this earth on our way towards the Father's house.
Just as in their earthly life believers are united in the one Mystical Body, so after death those who live in a state of purification experience the same ecclesial solidarity which works through prayer, prayers for suffrage and love for their other brothers and sisters in the faith. Purification is lived in the essential bond created between those who live in this world and those who enjoy eternal beatitude.
There is perhaps no better way to let our loved ones - living and deceased - know that we are thinking of them than to celebrate the Eucharist in their name. The sacrifice of the Mass consists in the offering of the Body and Blood of Christ to God the Father. During the Consecration the Body and Blood of Christ become present on the Altar and available for us to offer them to God.
There are three different ways in which you can ensure that a loved one is remembered: Mass Offering, Spiritual Association Perpetual Membership and Gregorian Masses.
Gregorian Masses are a series of thirty Masses offered up on thirty consecutive days for the repose of a particular person in Purgatory. It is based on a tradition started by Pope St. Gregory the Great who saw the soul of one of his friends released from Purgatory after the 30th mass.
The Sacred Congregation of Indulgences has declared that "the offering of thirty Gregorian Masses has a special efficacy for obtaining from the Divine Goodness and Mercy the deliverance of a suffering soul, and is a pious and reasonable belief of the Faithful" (Rescript, 1884).
We can still give a deceased friend or relative a Christmas gift—the gift of a mass for delivery of their soul.
(if any of you are interested in having Gregorian Masses said for a loved one, please contact us and we will give be able to set up the masses for you.
Friends of the Poor Souls
Eternal rest grant to them of Lord. Let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.
News From the Central Office
Bob and I wish to thank all of you who sent us get well cards, masses and prayers. I am sure they all did wonders as I am now at home after 5 months in the hospital. You will remain in our prayers.
Since Christmas will be here soon remember to have said a mass or an extra rosary as a gift to your loved deceased ones.
Remember to pray for all those enrolled in the Golden Book. If you include them in your prayers it may help shorten their purgatory. You may not know them now but you will meet them in Heaven. We have received all your emails and letters with names for the Golden Book and have enrolled them all.
We also wish to thank those who have sent donations so we can continue with Friends of the Poor Souls.
St Lidwina saw in Purgatory a soul that suffered also for mortal sins not sufficiently expiated on earth. The incident is thus related in the Life of the saint.
A man who had been for a long time a slave of the demon of impurity, finally had the happiness of being converted. He confessed his sins with great contrition, but, prevented by death, he had not time to atone by just penance for his numerous sins. Lidwina, who knew him well, prayed much for him.
Twelve years after his death she continued to pray, when, in one of her ecstasies, being taken into Purgatory by her angel-guardian, she heard a mournful voice issuing from a deep pit.
"It is the soul of that man" said the angel, "for whom you have prayed with much fervour and constancy." She was astonished to see him so deep in Purgatory twelve years after his death. The angel, seeing her so greatly affected, asked if she was willing to suffer something for his deliverance. "With all my heart," replied the charitable maiden.
From that moment she suffered new pains and frightful torments, which appeared to surpass the strength of human endurance. Nevertheless, she bore them with courage, sustained by a charity stronger than death, until it pleased God to send her relief.
She then breathed as one restored to a new life, and, at the same time, she saw that soul for which she had suffered so much come forth from the abyss as white as snow and take its flight to Heaven.
Taken from: Purgatory Explained (pp 89-90)
Authored by: Father F.X. Shouppe, S.J.