In our church, the month of November is dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory. This month we’d like to share some ideas on the spiritual work of mercy: Pray for the Living and the Dead from our friend Sue. She had so many great ideas we thought we’d write a whole post about them! She shared with us:
An easy prayer to say every day is the St. Gertrude prayer:
Eternal Father, I Offer you the most precious blood of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, those in my own home, and within my own family. Amen.
By praying for the dead you are doing a spiritual work of mercy.
To make November a special time of remembrance, I also save the prayer cards that they hand out at funeral homes for all the wakes and funerals I attend. If I can’t go to the wake or the funeral, I create my own simple card to remember to pray for those I know who have passed. I also collect holy cards of our favorite saints. In November I have a metal indoor tree that we put up in our home. I attach a ribbon to the prayer cards, and on November 1st I put up the saints, and on November 2nd, I put up the cards from the funeral homes and the cards that I’ve made. This helps us to remember to pray for these souls in a special way this month.
We also save up to do Gregorian Masses for these souls through the Pious Union of St. Joseph for the Suffering & Dying. These are 30 days of consecutive masses said for a soul. It is a beautiful way to have mass Masses offered through the Missions and the donation goes to help with liturgical expenses, books for seminarians, and ministries of the Church. The stipends for these priests are their “lifeline.” What a gift it is to support them! The tradition of the Gregorian masses dates back to St. Gregory the Great, who wrote how when upon finishing the series of thirty Masses for the departed monk, Justus, he appeared to St. Gregory and told him he had gained entry into heaven on completion of the thirtieth Mass. I would encourage you to read more about the Pious Union of St. Joseph for the Suffering & Dying. This Association joins together the prayers of priests, Religious and lay faithful who raise up special prayers to God and to St. Joseph in favor of the dying. You can also become a member of this association when you join your prayers to theirs and signing up on their website.
This spiritual work of mercy is a very important one! These Holy Souls need our prayers and as part of the communion of Saints, we should offer our masses and prayers for them. St. Faustina often prayed for the Poor Souls and wrote about them in her Diary. Below is one prayer she offered and we encourage you to pray with us:
O Jesus, I understand that Your mercy is beyond all imagining, and therefore I ask You to make my heart so big that there will be room in it for the needs of all the souls living on the face of the earth. O Jesus, my love extends beyond the world, to the souls suffering in PURGATORY, and I want to exercise mercy toward them by means of indulgenced prayers. God’s mercy is unfathomable and inexhaustible, just as God Himself is unfathomable. Even if I were to use the strongest words there are to express this mercy of God, all this would be nothing in comparison with what it is in reality. O Jesus, make my heart sensitive to all the sufferings of my neighbor, whether of body or of soul. O my Jesus, I know that You act toward us as we act toward our neighbor.
My Jesus, make my heart like unto Your merciful Heart. Jesus, help me to go through life doing good to everyone. (Diary, 692)