Did you know you can obtain a plenary indulgence every day? Below are four simple ways to obtain them in your daily spiritual life.
First, let's go over the meaning of a plenary indulgence.
What is a plenary indulgence?
According to the Manual of Indulgences of the Church, a plenary indulgence is the total remission "before God of the temporal punishment for sins, whose guilt is forgiven" and can be earned for oneself or for a deceased relative in purgatory.
What are the three conditions of a plenary indulgence?
The faithful may gain a plenary indulgence once per day, and it always requires the fulfillment of three basic conditions: sacramental confession, reception of the Holy Eucharist, and prayer for the Pope's intentions. The individual must also be completely detached from sin to obtain a plenary indulgence. If he or she is not detached, the indulgence becomes partial.
"A single sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences; but Holy Communion must be received and prayer for the intention of the Holy Father must be recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence," the manual says.
The manual points out that the three conditions can be met days before or after the requested work, but "it is convenient that communion and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father take place on the same day that the work is completed."
"The condition of praying for the intention of the Holy Father is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless, one has the option of reciting any other prayer according to individual piety and devotion, if recited for this intention," the manual adds.
4 Ways to Gain a Plenary Indulgence Daily
1) Adore the Blessed Sacrament for at least half an hour
"Plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who visit the Blessed Sacrament for adoration for at least half an hour," the manual says.
2) Pray the Rosary in a group or with the Holy Father
The manual explains that a plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who devoutly recite the Rosary "in a church or oratory, or in a family, a religious community, or an association of the faithful, and in general when several of the faithful gather for some honest purpose."
You can also gain indulgences by devoutly participating "in the recitation of the rosary while it is being recited by the Supreme Pontiff and broadcast live by radio or television."
To gain indulgence in both circumstances, the five mysteries must be prayed in a row and a pious meditation must be added to each of them.
“In public prayer, the mysteries must be enunciated in accordance with the custom accepted in each place; in private prayer, it is enough for the faithful Christian to combine meditation on the mysteries with vocal prayer," the manual adds.
3) Read Holy Scripture for at least half an hour
"A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who read the Sacred Scriptures as spiritual reading, from a text approved by competent authority and with the reverence due to the divine word, for at least a half an hour," the manual says.
In addition, it emphasizes that, if for reasonable reasons the faithful cannot read, the indulgence will be granted if "the text of Sacred Scripture is listened to while another person is reading or if it is heard by means of a video or audio recording."
4) Pray the Stations of the Cross
According to the Manuel of Indulgences, Fourth Edition, the faithful may pray the Stations of the Cross any day of the year and obtain a plenary indulgence.
"The pious exercise must be made before stations of the Way of the Cross legitimately erected...According to the common custom, the pious exercise consists of 14 devotional readings, to which some vocal prayers are added. To make the Way of the Cross, however, it is sufficient to meditate devoutly on the Lord's Passion and Death, and therefore reflection on the particular mysteries of the individual stations in not necessary... Progression from one station to the next is required."
However, if you publicly participate in the Stations of the Cross, only the leader must move from station to station.
Secondly, if you physically cannot move to each station, the manual says, “Those legitimately impeded can acquire the same indulgence, if they spend some time, e.g., at least a quarter of an hour, in reading and meditating on the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”