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A Reflection on All Souls and Our Souls

All Souls' Day makes us mindful not only of the death of our dear ones but also of our own. Death is a A Reflection on All Soulspunishment, bringing with it, of necessity, a feeling of pain, of fear, of uncertainty. The saints experienced it, and Jesus Himself willed to undergo it. Thus the Church puts before us passages from scripture most suited to encourage us:

“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord… henceforth they rest from their labors, for their works follow them.”

The life of the body dies; the life of the spirit and the good deeds accomplished during life remain; these deeds alone accompany the soul in its journey from this life and render its death precious.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”

This death has been justly defined “dies natalis” and the day of birth to eternal life. Would that our own death might be such! A dies natalis which would bring us into the beatific vision, bring us to birth in the indefectible love of heaven.

However, by inviting us to pray for the faithful departed, today's liturgy reminds us that between death and eternal beatitude there is purgatory. Because our works do follow us, and not all of them are good works, or, even if they are good, they are full of faults and imperfections, it is necessary for the soul to be purified from every blemish before being admitted to the vision of God. And yet if we were perfectly faithful to grace, there would be no need for purgatory, for God purifies here below those who give themselves wholly to Him, who let themselves be fashioned and formed according to His good pleasure. Furthermore, purification accomplished on earth has the great advantage of being meritorious, that is, of increasing grace and charity in us, thus permitting us to love God more for all eternity; whereas in purgatory, one suffers without growing in charity. That is why we should desire to be purified during life. But let us have no illusions: even on earth total purification entails great suffering. If now we are not generous in suffering, if here on earth we do not know how to accept suffering, pure and unmitigated, as Jesus did on the Cross, our purification will of necessity have to be completed in purgatory.

May the thought of that place of expiation rouse our zeal to pray for the souls of the departed, and may it also make us more courageous in embracing suffering in reparation for our own faults.

Adapted from Divine Intimacy

Note from Dan: Adapted from “Divine Intimacy” from Baronius Press. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.

Art:  Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of SpiritualDirection.com, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • LetitBeFC

    I am thrilled to share this Good News, on Facebook….Just today realized to do this..and
    Just re-opened my Facebook acct. last week.
    To share our faith, how wonderful is your site…and smart of you all to give the option for sharing….Thank You…..Blessings FC

  • Guest

    Thank you Fr. Gabriel for this Post. The reality of Purgatory makes the Devotion of the Eucharistic Divine Mercy with the promises Jesus gave to St. Faustina about the fulfillment of requirements for successful celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday – that is the Sunday after Easter Sunday – as desired by Christ and fulfilled by Pope John Paul II in 2000 very, very comforting and essential for those striving to attain and live in Sanctifying Grace every day. That Jesus promised total forgiveness of sins and temporal punishment to those Catholics who would accept His offer of Mercy on this Divine Mercy Sunday – that is the Sunday after Easter – which was finally promulgated for the Universal Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II in 2000, should encourage every Catholic to participate in this Devotion not only on the Divine Mercy Sunday itself, but to make the Eucharistic Divine Mercy Devotion a way of life. God is truly merciful and the revelations Jesus gave us through St. Faustine are the most valuable source of Grace and the way to Spiritual growth for us all. Praise be Jesus Christ

    • SL

      Mary7Macharia has said it all in her comment. St Faustina and Divine Mercy was running all day through my mind on All Souls Day. For those of you who have not read St Faustina’s diary, Divine Mercy In My Soul, get hold of a copy! God bless you all and let’s keep up with the daily chaplet for all souls in purgatory.

    • Becky Ward

      AMEN!!

      Divine Mercy Sunday does provide a most awesome and unique opportunity for us. I pray more souls realize the immense grace attached to this practice.

      For those who feel a certain ‘calling’ to pray for the souls in Purgatory there is also the practice, found in the writings of St. Mary Margaret, of making a ‘Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory”.

      Here’s a link:
      http://www.alcazar.net/purgatory.html

      This was especially recommended during the octave of All Souls, Nov. 1 – 8th I believe, but can be done all year long.

      We also have the opportunity to gain indulgences for the souls in purgatory by visiting cemeteries Nov 1-8………..the normal requirements of receiving communion and having gone to confession apply here too…..and it’s not too late to still do this!!

      Here’s a link for this one:
      http://catholicism.about.com/od/indulgences/p/Cemetery_Visit.htm

      We pray for our brothers and sisters in Purgatory out of love, and because we should………………yet it doesn’t hurt to remember that they will most certainly pray unceasingly for those of us that help them.

      I don’t know about you………….but I need all the prayer support I can get!!

      Love & Prayers…………….

  • Charles Griggy

    Purification on earth is meritorious and can be accomplished by putting our faith and trust in God. ” You should not fear Purgatory because of the suffering there, but you should instead ask that you not deserve to go there in order to please God. Who so reluctantly imposes this punishment. As soon as you start trying to please Him in everything and have an unshakable trust He purifies you every moment in His love and He let’s no sin remain. And then you can be sure that you will not have to go tp Purgatory.”. (The teaching of St. Therese of the Child Jesus)

    She even said that we would offend God if we did not trust enough that we would get to
    heaven right after dying and that we do a great injury to God in believing you’re going to Purgatory. “When we love, we can’t go there.” And when I look at my three year old grandson, who depends on everyone for his care and the love he gives and the love that is returned to Him by everyone in the family illustrates how God wants us to be childlike. When we learn to depend totally on God and put our trust in Him, we will avoid Pugatory. This is also confirmed through Devine Mercy “Jesus I trust in You”. Note: Saint Theresa said “God is more Father than Judge but if you look for the justice of God you will get it.”
    Also, remember “God does not need to know anything about our merits or good deeds in order
    to take us straight to Him but he needs all of our trust. There is no trust without love and there
    is no love without trust.” This is what Saint John said “there is no fear in love, but perfect love
    casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfect in love” (1
    Jn. 4:17-18)

    Saint Theresa says to appear before God empty-handed and that it is easier for sinners who have nothing to rely upon to reach Heaven than great saints with their merits. She emphasizes that trust alone is enough and that after a messed-up life, God can still take you toHeaven. “What pleases God is that He sees me loving my littleness and my poverty, the blind hope that I have in His mercy.

    Sincerely,

    Chuck Griggy

  • MLBelp

    Thank you so much for this site!  I really like the ‘new look’. 

    Sometimes it is very hard for me to communicate what is going on in my soul to others.  Reading is very helpful to me.

    If I cannot talk to ‘Jesus with skin on’, then this is the next best thing.

    May God bless you and this ministry.

  • Charles Griggy

    Some other information about Purgatory that is helpful in discussing This subject and what one can do to avoid Purgatory to help themselves go directly to Heaven. Again, this is what God wants from all of us after living this life.

    “Although Our Lady speaks little about Purgatory in 31 years of giving messages from Medjugorje, she does confirm its reality and also that it is not necessarily a place that we are all destined for. She also stresses the importance of prayer for the purification of souls in Purgatory. In 1982 Our Lady gave this response to a question concerning Purgatory: There are
    many souls in Purgatory. There are also persons who have been consecrated to God – some
    priests, some religious. Pray for their intentions, at least the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary and
    the Glory Be, seven times each, and the Creed. I recommend it to you. There is a large
    number of souls who have been in Purgatory a long time because no one prays for them. July
    21, 1982

    A few days later Our Lady stressed the importance of the Sacraments in bypassing Purgatory.
    Responding to question about a person being bad all one’s life and asking forgiveness, she
    said: Whoever has done very much evil during his life can go straight to Heaven if he
    confesses, is sorry for what he has done, and receives Communion at the end of his life. (July
    24, 1982)

    Only once in all of her weekly and monthly messages does Our Lady request prayers for the
    souls in Purgatory. Dear children, today I wish to call you to pray daily for the 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 realise that all
    earthly things are not important for you, that only 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

    So from these few messages alone we can gather certain facts about Purgatory.

    1. Purgatory exists.
    2. Many souls go there – even priests!
    3. A sense of time exists.
    4. Souls in Purgatory are in need of our prayers.
    5. Our prayers create joy for souls in Purgatory.
    6. We can bypass Purgatory through receiving the Sacraments.
    7. By praying for the souls in Purgatory we receive new intercessors.

    Please note that help is needed for the souls in Purgatory and also help is needed for ourselves to avoid Purgatory. I believe that this is powerful information that can lead to a short time in Purgatory for many souls and a direct road to Heaven for those of us who want to take that road.

    Sincerely,

    Chuck Griggy

    Chuck

    • LizEst

      The Holy Souls in Purgatory are my number one intention…always.

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