Why pray for the holy souls in purgatory?

A baroque painting of Mary as the protectress of the poor souls in purgatory in the pilgrimage church of the Holy Trinity in Weihenlinden, Bavaria. The belief that love can reach into the afterlife, that reciprocal giving and receiving is possible, in which our affection for one another continues beyond the limits of death—this has been a fundamental conviction of Christianity throughout the ages and it remains a source of comfort today. Who would not feel the need to convey to their departed loved ones a sign of kindness, a gesture of gratitude or even a request for pardon? Now a further question arises: if “Purgatory” is simply purification through fire in the encounter with the Lord, Judge and Saviour, how can a third person intervene, even if he or she is particularly close to the other? When we ask such a question, we should recall that no man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine: in what I think, say, do and achieve. And conversely, my life spills over into that of others: for better and for worse. So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death. In the interconnectedness of Being, my gratitude to the other—my prayer for him—can play a small part in his purification. And for that there is no need to convert earthly time into God’s time: in the communion of souls simple terrestrial time is superseded. It is never too late to touch the heart of another, nor is it ever in vain. In this way we further clarify an important element of the Christian concept of hope. Our hope is always essentially also hope for others; only thus is it truly hope for me too[40]. As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: how can I save myself? We should also ask: what can I do in order that others may be saved and that for them too the star of hope may rise? Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well.      

-From Spe Salvi, by Pope Benedict XVI

Click here to read the rest of the encyclical.

Show Notes – A Good Habit 11/5/14

A Good Habit Show Notes

On Wednesday we were joined by a one of the most knowledgeable ladies we know on the subject of purgatory – Susan Tassone!  This was a great show, and you’ll want to take notes because it’s packed with information and quotes from the saints that you’ll want to remember.


Susan has long been an advocate of the holy souls in purgatory, and not only that, she helps us to understand purgatory itself better.  Purgatory is a place that often gets a bad rap, from Catholics and non-Catholics alike, but what would we do without it?  Who of us will be perfectly fit for heaven at the moment of our death?  Purgatory is a gift of God’s mercy, because it gives us the opportunity to be completely cleansed of any stains of sin so that we can stand before the all-pure, all-holy God.

day_by_daySusan’s latest book, Day By Day for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, was just released.  It’s a wonderful way to pray for the Church suffering each day, and also learn a little more about purgatory and the teachings of the Church.  She was on EWTN Bookmark last week to talk about her new book.  Susan has many other books you’ll want to add to your library as well, and you can check them out here.  On the show she mentioned a novena she put together using the Catechism’s writings on purgatory.  You can find that novena, along with many other wonderful devotions, in her book Prayers, Promises and Devotions for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.  Praying for the holy souls is so important!  They need our prayers, and we sure need theirs.  Don’t neglect calling upon the poor souls for help.  They are very powerful advocates who will pray for you now and when they get to heaven.

If you’re interested in having Gregorian Masses offered for your departed loved ones you can visit The Pious Union of St. Joseph to learn more.