Catholic Devotion for the Month of November – The Holy Souls/The Faithful Departed
It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.”–2 Maccabees 12:46
The Holy Souls are those who have died in the state of grace but who are not yet free from all punishment due to their unforgiven venial sins and all other sins already forgiven for which satisfaction is still to be made. They are certain of entering Heaven but first they must suffer in Purgatory. The Holy Souls cannot help themselves because for them the night has come, when no man can work (John 9:4). It is our great privilege that we can shorten their time of separation from God by our prayers, good works and, especially, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The doctrine of Purgatory gives to Catholics comfort and joy. They feel the black gulf of death is bridged across and they are still knit together to those near and dear to them in the bonds of love and sympathy. The sting of death and the sharpness of its sorrow, is mitigated by the thought, that they are still bound to these departed, by the golden chain of prayer. Whilst they are able to pray for us, they cannot pray for themselves.
The Council of Trent told us “That there is a Purgatory and that the souls there detained are assisted by the most acceptable sacrifice of the altar.”
A Prayer for the Souls in Purgatory
O most gentle Heart of Jesus,
ever present in the Blessed Sacrament,
ever consumed with burning love
for the poor captive souls in Purgatory,
have mercy on the souls
of Your departed servants.
Be not severe in Your judgments,
but let some drops of Your Precious Blood
fall upon the devouring flames.
And do You, O Merciful Saviour,
send Your holy angels to conduct them
to a place of refreshment, light and peace.