In the Catholic Church it is traditional that we pray throughout the month of November for those who have gone before us, particularly the Holy Souls in Purgatory. I’ve always explained the concept of purgatory as a waiting room for Heaven, where we are prepared to meet God and perfected in Holiness before Our Entry to Heaven. It is a cleansing of the soul to prepare you for the Kingdom of Heaven!
In this month of November, where the veil between Heaven and Earth seems thinner, remember that your sacrifices and struggles are not in vein … the degree of Grace with which we meet our struggles adds to the offering we can give for the Holy Souls in Purgatory and for those we are praying for here on earth.
It is not only our prayers we can offer for the dead, we can offer Mass, we can offer the struggles and burdens we bear, by gracefully accepting them and offering them for the Holy Souls. We can also offer these as reparation for our own sins.
We must remember that it is not only in November we pray for the Souls in Purgatory.
Here is a beautiful and well known prayer for the souls in purgatory, it was given to St Gertrude the Great, A 13th Century Benedictine nun and mystic, Jesus is said to have promised the release of 1000 souls in purgatory for each time this prayer is said as a devout offering.
I came across a beautiful post about the Holy souls in Purgatory by Cari Donaldson at the Catholic Exchange, here she gives such a beautiful account of the Catechism on purgatory and a seriously beautiful conversion story.
“From the beginning the Church has honoured the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead.” CCC 1032
Of Course when thinking about these things, I am then drawn to my own conscience and that of our children – I used to attend confession fairly regularly perhaps two or three times a week – some may see this as excessive, given that our obligation is to go once a year! For me however, I know that this helps me to live as God wants me too. It is too easy sometimes to slip into sin, in this world in which we live.
The examination of conscience is a practise we do not talk much about anymore – it should be completed on a daily basis, allowing us to develop our conscience – with a detailed examens as a preparation for confession. The daily examens is a really important part of our journey with God. I have included at the end of this post some examens I find useful! I didnt know about the Examens until I was around 25! i have found it really useful in training my conscience.
This is a wonderful and very personal examens by Yellow Pelican.
This is a thorough examination of conscience based upon the 10 commandments and the precepts of the Church – it is incredibly thorough!
This is the examens our teenage daughter uses – it moves on from the one below giving a wonderful examens for the teens of this world!
This is a beautiful version of the examens particularly useful for younger children – we have recently begun to use this with our 5 year old son – although he will not receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation for a couple of years yet, it is a way to begin talking about and training the conscience!
I hope you have found some useful information in here and will have a thought about Purgatory and prayer throughout this month of the Holy Souls – perhaps increase acts of penance, charity and sacrifices we make and offer for the Holy souls particularly this month.
Ad Jesum per Mariam