November 2, 2011
Image by Lawrence OP via Flickr
All Souls Day
Dear Family of Mary!
"Dear children! Today I wish to call you to pray daily for souls in purgatory. For every soul prayer and grace is necessary to reach God and the love of God. By doing this, dear children, you obtain new intercessors who will help you in life to realize that all the earthly things are not important for you, that only
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Heaven is that for which it is necessary to strive. Therefore, dear children, pray without ceasing that you may be able to help yourselves and the others to whom your prayers will bring joy. Thank you for having responded to my call."(November 6, 1986)
Today we pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, the Church suffering. These souls are holy because they have escaped eternal damnation, and are headed towards heaven. But they suffer because they are not purified enough to enter the presence of God. The fire of His love would devour them in their present state, and so they go through a time of waiting, of stripping and of purifying. It is painful, according to the saints who have encountered such souls, or visited Purgatory.
Our Lady tells us that praying for the Souls in Purgatory will obtain for us "new intercessors who will help you in life to realize that all the earthly things are not important for you, that only Heaven is that for which it is necessary to strive." This is comforting. Just thinking about Purgatory makes me want to let go of earthly things and reach for heaven.
St. Faustina had a special grace to pray for souls. She offered up her suffering and daily drudgery for souls, and often the Lord would let a soul visit her to ask for prayer. St. Faustina shared this account of an encounter with the suffering souls in Purgatory:
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I saw my Guardian Angel, who ordered me to follow him. In a moment I was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls. They were praying fervently, but to no avail, for themselves; only we can come to their aid. The flames which were burning them did not touch me at all. My Guardian Angel did not leave me for an instant. I asked these souls what their greatest suffering was. They answered me in one voice that their greatest torment was longing for God. I saw Our Lady visiting the souls in Purgatory. The souls call her "The Star of the Sea." She brings them refreshment. I wanted to talk with them some more, but my Guardian Angel beckoned me to leave. We went out of that prison of suffering. [I heard an interior voice] which said, My mercy does not want this, but justice demands it. Since that time, I am in closer communion with the suffering souls. (20, Diary)
St. Faustina was very aware of the Souls in Purgatory, and many times she would hear from them or even see them. Here is one example:
July 9, 1937. This evening, one of the deceased sisters came and asked me for one day of fasting and to offer all my [spiritual] exercises on that day for her. I answered that I would.
From early morning on the following day, I offered everything for her intention. During Holy mass, I had a brief experience of her torment. I experienced such intense hunger for God that I seemed to be dying of the desire to become united with Him. This lasted only a short time, but I understood what the longing of the souls in purgatory was like.
Immediately after Holy Mass, I asked Mother Superior's permission to fast, but I did not receive it because of my illness. When I entered the chapel, I heard these words: "If you had fasted, Sister, I would not have gotten relief until the evening, but for the sake of your obedience, which prevented you from fasting, I obtained this relief at one. Obedience has great power." After these words I heard: "May God reward you." (1185 – 87, Diary)
How close we are to the Souls in Purgatory. We are bound together by love, in Christ. We can help to shorten the time of purification for the Holy Souls, through our prayers, sacrifices, Holy Masses, and our love. They can in turn pray for us in our struggles for holiness. As Our Lady tells us, "For every soul prayer and grace is necessary to reach God and the love of God." The souls in Purgatory need our prayers desperately. But we need their prayers as well, even desperately, though we may not know it. In the divine economy, we can only make it if we work together!!
"Today I wish to call you to pray daily for souls in purgatory." Though we offer our prayers for the Souls today, on this special day in the Church Year, Our Lady tells us to pray daily for them. Like St. Faustina, let's make this prayer for souls a daily practice. We will be surrounded by grateful friends when we enter heaven one day!
In Jesus and Mary!
PS. Tonight on EWTN Live with Fr. Mitch Pacwa – airing at 8:00 pm EDT, Susan Tassone will be interviewed! They will talk about Purgatory. Watch Susan and Fr. Mitch as they share their deep knowledge of the realities of Purgatory!
PPS. Waiting for the message through Mirjana!!