Thursday, November 6, 2008

30 days for the Holy Souls

This book is a fantastic way to spend a November. There is a devotion for each day of the month, along with interesting stories about Saints and the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

For instance, did you know that one hour is as thirty years in Purgatory? There is a story about a priest who celebrated Mass for the soul of his departed colleague, not even an hour after his death. The departed appeared to the priest and asked him why it took 30 years for him to pray for the repose of his soul. The priest replied that the corpse was still warm and he had not been departed but an hour. If many souls spend up to 65 or more years in Purgatory, imagine how much time it would seem to them if each hour equalled 30 years.

This story underscored to me the need for constant prayer for the Holy Souls. Especially in this month of November, when we celebrate on November 1st All Saints Day, and November 2nd, All Souls Day.

It is a charitable practice to pray for the departed. Let us not assume our loved ones are in Heaven! Even though we hope for that, many will need to be purified in Purgatory prior to entering Heaven. This is a Biblical practice, to pray for the dead. In Maccabees, we see that they are praying for their dead. If they were in Heaven, they wouldn't need prayer, yet if they were in Hell prayers would not help them.

Purgatory is another oft misunderstood belief of the Catholic faith. It is not a second chance place. It is a place where those who have died in the state of grace are purified of all venial sin prior to entering Heaven.

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