The month of November is dedicated to praying for the faithful departed.
As Catholics, we believe that praying for the dead is not only a spiritual work of mercy but a pillar of our faith!
You can find a refresher on all things Purgatory here.
We believe that our prayers help console the souls of the faithful departed, which is why we are encouraged to pray for the souls in Purgatory.
We compiled a list of favorite prayers here.
Karlo Broussard, apologist and speaker, wrote for Catholic Answers Magazine a riveting list of ways Purgatory consoles us.
He refers to the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory as good news and outlines four ways that Purgatory provides consolation for believers.
1. If your loved one dies without the perfect holiness required for heaven, it is not too late for them.
Purgatory is an incredible gift!
The Lord wants us to be in heaven with him, which is why this place of final purification exists.
“Purgatory gives us the assurance that even though our loved ones die without the perfect holiness required for heaven, we know they’re not forever excluded from there,” Broussard explains.
2. Your relationship with a deceased loved one can continue after death, even before they reach heaven.
As someone who has lost a loved one, this consolation in particular is especially moving.
In his article, Broussard writes,
“The doctrine of Purgatory provides consolation for a believer because it offers hope that our loved ones who die with imperfection aren’t forever excluded from heaven. But a believer might still be disheartened by the thought that if his loved one isn’t in heaven yet, then he can’t have a relationship with that person in the present moment. He would have to wait.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, the doctrine of Purgatory entails that we can assist our loved ones in Purgatory by offering the Mass, prayers, indulgences, almsgiving, and other works of love for them. This is based on the Christian belief in the communion of saints, which includes the souls in Purgatory.”
He also notes that these souls are still members of the mystical body of Christ.
3. The souls in Purgatory can pray for us.
Although they cannot pray for themselves, the holy souls in Purgatory can pray for us.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states,
“Our prayer for them [souls in Purgatory] is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective” (CCC, 958)
Broussard explains that we have good reasons to think the souls in Purgatory pray for us:
“One rationale for this is that the souls in Purgatory are perfected in charity. Since charity involves not only love of God, but also love of neighbor, and love of neighbor is expressed in intercessory prayer, it seems reasonable to conclude that the souls in Purgatory would express their love by interceding for us.”
4. Our prayers console the holy souls in Purgatory.
What an incredible gift it is to console those undergoing purification.
“The consolation that we can provide the holy souls in Purgatory in turn brings us consolation,” he says.