Remembering the Faithful Departed
by Father Charles M. Mangan
Let it never be said that the expression, "Out of sight, out of mind" describes our attitude towards the Faithful Departed.
November is the special backdrop against which the Church exhorts us to pray and sacrifice for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. Yet, we realize that our serious duty to assist them as they make their way to Heaven obliges us daily.
The doctrine of Purgatory is very consoling, not depressing, as some critics have long maintained. Imagine: ours is a loving God Who permits His friends who are not prepared for Paradise to be cleansed after death in order to enter eventually into the unending Kingdom of the Lord!
The Almighty wasn't compelled to make this golden opportunity available. But He did because, as each of us attests in the Act of Contrition, God is "art all good and deserving of all my love."
The Holy Souls in Purgatory, as many of us learned as children, benefit tremendously from our prayers, acts of charity, almsgiving and penance, and particularly from the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that we arrange on their behalf. These men and women, boys and girls died as sincere friends of God. Yet, they require further purification before being admitted into Heaven. They are not quite ready to enter the New Jerusalem.
This is where we come in. These Souls are our brothers and sisters. They have the right to request our compassion. And we have the sacred responsibility to extend it to them. Only God knows the great work we perform when we place the Faithful Departed on our list for daily prayer and mortification.
A valuable practice is to memorize a prayer or two that we can pray often for the Faithful Departed. There is the familiar one that Pope John Paul adds after he prays the "Angelus"; many also recite it at the conclusion of Grace After Meals.
V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
R. And let Perpetual Light shine upon them.
V. May they rest in peace.
V. May their Souls and the Souls of all the Faithful Departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.
Another excellent way to aid the Poor Souls--and, in fact, those on earth who are steeped in sin--is by reciting the "Prayer of Saint Gertrude the Great."
"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."
The Faithful Departed who now are the recipients of our kindness will return the favor when we find ourselves needy.
May our fellow followers of Christ who suffer in Purgatory soon be admitted into Heaven through the overwhelming mercy of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the trustworthy intercession of Mary Most Amiable and Saint Joseph, that "just man"!
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Official, 390 66616-1125
Faithful Departed, Death, Purgatory, Heaven
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