Holy Souls

By Charla Spalluto Misse

It was not until this year that I realized how immensely holy souls need our help.

At 7 years old and having lost loved ones this year, my son was more cognizant of All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2) than ever before.

As usual, when I am given the opportunity to “teach” my child, I end up learning something myself. By distilling the essence of doctrinal truths, their importance is ever more stressed in my heart. Quite the benefit of being a parent!      

Holy souls will enjoy heaven, but must first undergo purification (purgatory).  They are also called poor souls, “poor” because they cannot help themselves. They are totally reliant on the charity of the living to pass through purgatory … totally reliant.

I remember the nuns in school teaching me to “offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory.”  Throughout my life, I always imagined that whatever burden I carried would be used to lighten their load, which I was happy to do – but I did not realize it was critical for the end of their suffering.

Keeping this in mind, I now make deliberate, small acts of sacrifice throughout the day to help them. I offer this for not only my loved ones, but also those poor souls that have been forgotten.    

Our family has Masses celebrated for our loved ones, both living and deceased, as we believe that the holy sacrifice of the Mass is the most powerful prayer.

Other ways that we can help “holy souls” are by offering any indulgences we obtain for their benefit, giving alms as penance offered for them, praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for them and praying the “Eternal Rest” prayer when passing a cemetery.

I have heard of even more traditions as well.

We can offer these things for any and all souls, people we knew and never knew. Those who are united in Christ are not separated by death or by distance.  Praise be to almighty and merciful God.       

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