The Communion of Saints is the “union of the faithful on earth, the blessed in heaven, and the souls in Purgatory, with Christ as their Head” (Baltimore Catechism No. 2). Through it, we honor the saints, ask their intercession, and pray for one another. But how many of us really take time to pray for the suffering souls in Purgatory?

In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 30-37), Christ taught us to love our neighbor. Our neighbors are not just our family members and friends; they aren’t even just the people we come in contact with in our daily activities. They are also our suffering brothers and sisters in Purgatory.

Purgatory is defined in the Catholic Dictionary as “the place and state in which souls suffer for a while and are purged after death, before they go to Heaven, on account of their sins.” To be in Purgatory is to be deprived of the intense joy of beholding God, a joy that the saints and angels in Heaven possess. These souls are assured of Heaven, but not until they have been purified completely by the cleansing fires of Purgatory.

These suffering souls are not able to help themselves; they are not able to quicken the end of their Purgatory time. They must depend upon us to offer prayers, Masses, and good works for them that they may enter Heaven more swiftly. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the best way to help the souls in Purgatory. If you wish to have one said, please consider the suffering souls as they are always in need.

Offering prayers is another wonderful way to aid them. Anything from a novena to a simple Hail Mary will help them. As Catholics, we are obliged to pray for the deceased. It is our duty. Praying for the dead is a spiritual work of mercy; it is an act of great worth as it helps the souls in Purgatory enter Heaven more quickly. The prayers, works, Masses, and anything else done for the Holy Souls will never be in vain. God will reward those who care for the souls that cannot care for themselves, and the souls we help enter into God’s presence will aid us in our journey through life until we are safely in our Father’s House.

May eternal rest grant unto them, Oh Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

Below is a thought provoking sermon on the importance of praying for the holy souls in purgatory. The priest wishes to remain anonymous.

Pray for AND to the Holy Souls in Purgatory” (November 2, 2007)