Your Help is Needed …
St John tells us in the Apocalypse that nothing defiled can enter Heaven (Apocalypse 21:27). So Purgatory, which is a place of cleansing after death, is a masterpiece of God’s mercy and also His justice. The Church teaches infallibly that Purgatory exists and that there are souls there. Very few of us when we die will still have our baptismal robe totally pure and spotless. So those who die with only venial sins on their soul, or those who have moral and spiritual imperfections which haven’t been sufficiently atoned for in this life will go to Purgatory. Purgatory is a place of cleansing, so naturally there will be some suffering. But it is also a place of great joy because the souls there know they have attained their salvation. Heaven is guaranteed, so in that sense they are better off than we are.
Maria Simma (1915-2004) was an Austrian mystic who received many visits from the souls in Purgatory. She first experienced a visit from Purgatory in 1940 when she was just twenty five years old. A man appeared to her and said, “Please have three holy Masses said for my intentions and then I will be delivered.” He immediately disappeared and Maria said that it was then she realised he was a poor soul. Very soon more souls would come to her asking for help, and over the years it turned into a great number. Maria spent her lifetime helping the souls in Purgatory.
The holy souls told her many times that the greatest help they can receive from us on earth is to have the holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered for them. After that the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross are the most beneficial to them. But even the smallest prayer or sacrifice is like giving a glass of cold water to a traveller parched in the desert. Maria said that the greatest complaint of the holy souls is that family and loved ones almost completely forget them and give them almost no spiritual help. Very few prayers are said for them and yet that is what they need the most. No longer possessing physical bodies, the holy souls cannot do penance or make sacrifices themselves, so they rely totally on our help.
One may gain a Plenary Indulgence for the Holy Souls on any day in November by visiting a cemetery and there saying some prayers for them. In addition one must make a sacramental Confession within eight days before or after and receive Holy Communion. Then say an Our Father and Hail Mary for the Pope’s intention. If you don’t manage all the conditions the Indulgence is Partial. Let us all make a concerted effort this month to pray hard for the Holy Souls, try and gain Indulgences for them and release as many of them from Purgatory as possible. This is a really great act of charity, and by helping release them we will be gaining for ourselves great friends and intercessors in Heaven. Then in the words of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, “As we enter Heaven, we will see them, so many of them coming towards us and thanking us. We will ask who they are and they will say, ‘A poor soul you prayed for in Purgatory’.”
Fr Paul Gillham, IC