Today we celebrate a great feast!
The feast of All Soul’s Day.
It is a great day to REMEMBER and PRAY for those who have died.
Our prayers are ACTS OF LOVE and remembrances of them. All acts of love are efficacious — meaning they bear fruit.
Because LOVE comes from God alone. He is the SOURCE of love. Or better yet “GOD IS LOVE” as St. John tells us (1 Jn 4:8). As I wrote in a previous article, God is in His essence, in His Being, LOVE. It is the best word that we have in our human language to describe WHO GOD IS.
So, it follows, that when we choose to act in love, we are tapping into this inconceivable fountain of overflowing LOVE, grace and goodness that is GOD alone. When we make an act of love; we are, therefore, always acting in God, whether we recognize it or not.
We are the meant to “live and move and have our being in God” (cf. Acts 17:28). To be His Body and shower forth His LOVE upon each other by loving in His Name. This is how God chooses to work. He desires to use His Creatures to be His instruments of grace to one another. He could have come to earth without the aid of a virgin mother. But, he chose to manifest His Life through her. He chose Mary to give Him life. He chose Mary to carry Him within her womb, and then in her arms. He had no other means of manifesting Himself (because it was His Will) than through her. This is why we uphold Mary up in such honor. She is the model of what we are called to be. We are also called to live in such a depth of union with God, that He becomes so fully alive in us, that we are manifestations of His Presence, carrying Him to everyone around us. That our desire becomes one with His. Namely, that all will come to union with Him and experience His eternal Glory and Happiness.
This is why we pray for those who have died. We are praying because God is inspiring us to pray — wanting to use our good will, our openness to His inspirations, our union with Him to pour forth His love.
The Church, as His Body on earth, has the mind of Christ and speaks for Him. She has understood and taught us that even simple acts of love are immensely powerful. She provides us guides and ways to pray for the souls in purgatory that will either aid them in part (partial indulgence) or in full (plenary indulgence) on the path to heaven. These prayers are not for ourselves, but for the souls in purgatory. Noting that “The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful” (James 5: 16) it is suggested that we who pray for indulgences be in the state of grace, i.e. go to confession, Mass and receive Holy Communion (typically within 8 day before or after our prayers — but were relaxed generally to 20 days before or after our prayers during the Jubillee year); and be united to our Holy Father, the Pope, which is demonstrated by praying at least one Our Father and one Hail Mary for his intentions, but any other prayers can also be added.
See http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=1178 for more information. The remaining facts of this article were gathered from this source, some being direct quotations. However, in contrast to what is stated at this site, it is noted that the Poor Souls can and do offer prayers for us NOW, we do not have to await their entrance into heaven for them to do so.
Indulgenced ACTS OF LOVE for the Poor Souls
On the Feast of All Souls, November 2, a plenary indulgence is granted when the faithful piously visit a Church and pray one Our Father and the Creed.
Between the days of November 1- 8, a plenary indulgence is granted to a poor soul, on each day the faithful visit a cemetery and pray any prayer devoutly for the departed.
On any day of the year, a partial indulgence is gained when we visit a cemetery and pray devoutly for the dead. Also:
“A partial indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, can be obtained when the Eternal Rest (Requiem aeternam) is prayed. This can be prayed all year, but especially during the month of November:
Requiem aeternam dona ei (eis), Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei (eis). Requiescat (-ant) in pace Amen.
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Many families add to the “Prayer Before Meals” the second half of the “Eternal Rest” prayer:
Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts, Which we are about to receive, from Thy bounty, through Christ, our Lord, Amen. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Other families recite the “Eternal Rest” prayer in between decades of the rosary.
We should pray for the departed all through the year, not just November.
Developing prayerful habits, such as praying the “Eternal Rest” prayer when passing cemeteries, will remind us of our eternal destiny and increase charity towards others.
For more information on the Church’s teachings on indulgences, read the Enchiridion of Indulgences given by the 1968 Decree of the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary.
Also see The Catechism of the Catholic Church section on Indulgences, Part 2, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 4, Subsection 10, 1471-1479.
Copyright 2014 Janet Moore