Praying for The Holy Souls in Purgatory has been very much in the forefront of my mind this month. Because the Church dedicates the month of November to the Holy Souls, I read Manuscript of a Soul in Purgatory while researching an earlier post, and it impacted me in a way I didn’t expect. Thus, the raised awareness in my prayer.
As I pondered the plight of the Holy Souls, I thought I’d look into what some of the great Saints of the Church have said about them, and what we might do to help them.
I hope these words motivate you to pray for these helpless souls. Like little children, they cannot help themselves, only we can do that. If you don’t already pray for them, would you add them to your daily prayers?
Holy Souls in Purgatory, pray for us! Anne
Saint Augustine – “But by the prayers of the Holy Church, and by the salvific sacrifice, and by the alms which are given for their spirits, there is no doubt that the dead are aided, that the Lord might deal more mercifully with them than their sins would deserve. The whole Church observes this practice which was handed down by the Fathers: that it prays for those who have died in the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, when they are commemorated in their own place in the sacrifice itself; and the sacrifice is offered also in memory of them, on their behalf. If, then, works of mercy are celebrated for the sake of those who are being remembered, who would hesitate to recommend them, on whose behalf prayers to God are not offered in vain? It is not at all to be doubted that such prayers are of profit to the dead; but for such of them as lived before their death in a way that makes it possible for these things to be useful to them after death”.
“Temporal punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by some after death, by some both here and hereafter, but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But not all who suffer temporal punishments after death will come to eternal punishments, which are to follow after that judgment” (The City of God 21:13 [A.D. 419]). (source)
St. John Vianney – “I come on behalf of God. Why am I up in the pulpit today, my dear brethren? What am I going to say to you? Ah! I come on behalf of God Himself. I come on behalf of your poor parents, to awaken in you that love and gratitude which you owe them. I come to bring before your minds again all those kindnesses and all the love which they gave you while they were on earth. I come to tell you that they suffer in Purgatory, that they weep, and that they demand with urgent cries the help of your prayers and your good works. I seem to hear them crying from the depths of those fires which devour them: “Tell our loved ones, tell our children, tell all our relatives how great the evils are which they are making us suffer. We throw ourselves at their feet to implore the help of their prayers. Ah! Tell them that since we have been separated from them, we have been here burning in the flames! (source)
St. Anthanasius lays great stress on this pious custom (burning blessed candles for the Holy Souls). He says, “Though the deceased is buried in the earth, thou must not omit to burn oil and wax on his grave, for this is pleasing to God and merits great reward. Oil and wax are an offering, the Holy Sacrifice is propitiation, and alms given to the poor is an increase of recompense.” (source)
Chaplet of the Holy Souls (prayed on ordinary rosary beads)
- On the large beads of the Rosary recite: O holy Souls draw the fire of God’s love into my soul to reveal Jesus crucified in me here on earth rather than hereafter in Purgatory. Amen.
- On the small beads of the Rosary recite: Crucified Lord Jesus, have mercy on the souls in Purgatory. Amen.
- At the end of the entire prayer: (3 times) Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.
Friends of the Holy Souls – some pretty cool stories here