Every evening we come before our Blessed Mother, bringing her a collection of our day’s efforts. She gracefully produces a gift of value and, in November, we are emboldened to ask if any of it could be applied to the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
November is the month dedicated to the Holy Souls, and they are then especially, during these thirty days, entitled to the help of the Church Militant in reducing their sufferings. Anything we can do to aid them is offered to Mary, the Mediatrix of All Graces, who is ever ready to assist us in life and in death. As her consecrated children, we have already given her the value of all our thoughts, words, and actions; nevertheless, as loving sons and daughters, we are also encouraged to join our Holy Mother in her maternal solicitation for the Church Suffering.
The residents of Purgatory, as explained in The Purgatorian Manual, consist of two classes of the faithful who departed this life in the state of grace:
1) Those who depart this life stained by venial sins and imperfections.
2) Those who have repented sincerely of their mortal sins, but died without having done sufficient penance for them.
These souls cannot enter Heaven until they are purified, but their salvation is assured and this is why these joyful souls are granted title of holy. Fr. F. X. Shouppe, S.J., in his 1893 work, Purgatory, tells us that Holy Mass is the most efficacious means of relief for the holy souls, but there are many additional works of mercy we can perform for them, including our own Holy Communions, alms-giving, fasting, recitation of the Rosary, and many other prayers. Remember, too, that when we pray for the holy souls, they, in turn pray for us, for they cannot help themselves.
Profitable meditations during this month of the Holy Souls will stir us to greater efforts in the sure hope that we can offer something useful to aid Blessed Mary as she succors her suffering children. On the other hand, consideration of the reality of intense reparation as an inevitable consequence of sin offers a powerful inducement to strive for sanctity. Dom Guéranger, in his epic work, The Liturgical Year, urges us to examine our own consciences now in this life as seriously as we shall be forced to do that in the place of expiation. And yet, knowing how weak we are, we can place special confidence in the Sabbatine Privilege, given us by the Queen of Heaven, while taking care to properly fulfill the three requirements:
1) Wearing of the brown scapular.
2) Observance of chastity according to one’s state in life.
3) Daily recitation of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin,
or, observation of the fasts of the Church together with abstinence from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays,
or, with the permission of a priest, recitation of five decades of the rosary daily,
or, with the permission of a priest, the substitution of some other good work.
Purgatory, that great mystery of justice and mercy, is the temporary home of countless neglected souls.
Let us say, with the Blessed Virgin, “Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem” (Dies irae).