Prayer for the souls of the departed is retained by Orthodox Jews today, who recite a prayer known as the Mourner’s Kaddish for eleven months after the death of a loved one so that he/she may be purified.
the fire of Purgatory is an intense, transforming encounter with Jesus Christ and his fire of love. They also speak of
ALL SOULS’ DAY: : Wis 3:1-9;
Some of the earliest Christian writings outside the New Testament, like the Acts of Paul and Thecla and the Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity (both written during the second century), refer to the Christian practice of praying for the dead.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386), in one of his many catechetical discourses, explained how at Mass both the living and dead are remembered, and how the Eucharistic Sacrifice of our Lord is of benefit to sinners, living and dead. St. Ambrose (d. 397) preached, "We have loved them during life; let us not abandon them in death, until we have conducted them by our prayers into the house of the Lord." St. John Chrysostom (d. 407) stated, "Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them." Finally, Pope St. Gregory (d. 604) said, "Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers. for them." The words Trinity and Incarnation aren’t in Scripture either, yet those doctrines are clearly taught in it. Likewise, Scripture teaches that Purgatory exists, even if it doesn’t use that word.
The Catholic Church teaches that not everyone who dies in God's grace is immediately ready for the Beatific Vision, that is, the direct experience of God and His perfect nature in Heaven. So, they must be purified of "lesser faults" and the temporal punishment due to sin in a place . The Catholic teaching on Purgatory essentially requires belief in two realities: 1. that there will be a purification of believers prior to entering Heaven and 2. that the prayers and Masses of the faithful in some way benefit those in the state of purification. These souls can experience the love of Christ who frees them from their imperfections. As the Second Vatican Council repeats, “fully conscious of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the pilgrim Church from the very first ages of the Christian religion has cultivated with great piety the memory of the dead” (Lumen Gentium, n. 50). Said Pope St. John Paul II: "Before we enter into God’s kingdom, every trace of sin within us must be eliminated, every imperfection in our soul must be corrected." (CCC #1030-1032).
These verses so clearly illustrate the existence of Purgatory that, at the time of the Reformation, Protestants had to cut the books of the Maccabees out of their Bibles in order to avoid accepting the doctrine. Not only can we show that prayer for the souls of the departed was practiced by the Jews of the time of the Maccabees, but it has even been retained by Orthodox Jews today, who recite a prayer known as the Mourner’s Kaddish for eleven months after the death of a loved one so that the loved one may be purified.
3) Matthew 12:32 hints at the possibility of sins being forgiven after death, "in the age to come," when Jesus refers to the impossibility of forgiveness of sins against the Holy Spirit. St. Augustine and St. Gregory interpret this phrase, "in the age to come,” as a reference to Purgatory. Jesus' statement that certain sins "will not be forgiven either in this world or in the world to come," at least suggests a purging of the soul after death. Pope St. Gregory (d. 604) stated, "As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire.” The Council of Lyons (1274) likewise affirmed this interpretation of our Lord's teaching. The Jewish School of Rabbi Shammai interpreted this passage as a purification of the soul through God's mercy and goodness, preparing it for eternal life.
6) Sirach 7:33 "Withhold not your kindness from the dead" The Jewish rabbis used to interpret this passage as imploring God to cleanse the souls of the deceased.Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church asserts, "This sacred council accepts loyally the venerable Faith of our ancestors in the living communion which exists between us and our brothers who are in the glory of Heaven or who are yet being purified after their death; and it proposes again the decrees of the Second Council of Nicaea, of the Council of Florence, and of the Council of Trent" (No. 51). “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death, they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (CCC #1030). “Hope does not disappoint,” says St. Paul in today’s second reading. Purgatory is a good-news, bad-news situation for those who are there. The good news is: You are on the way to salvation. The bad news is: You have to suffer temporarily as you prepare for the presence of God. But it is very different from the pain of hell. Purgatory is suffering, but not torment. “The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them,” says today’s first reading. Purgatory is an invention of our God of great mercy, who never wants to give up on us. “And this is the will of the One who sent me,” says Jesus in the Gospel, “that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the Last Day.”
the fire of Purgatory is an intense, transforming encounter with Jesus Christ and his fire of love. They also speak of it is not necessarily accurate to speak of a location or duration of Purgatory"the souls that are aware of the immense love and perfect justice of God consequently suffer for not having responded correctly and perfectly to that love." It is the suffering of the holy souls. He continues that
Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Mirae caritatis (1902), states, "The grace of mutual love among the living, strengthened and increased by the Sacrament of the Eucharist, flows, especially by virtue of the Sacrifice [of the Mass], to all who belong to the Communion of Saints. The Vatican Council II affirmed, "This sacred council accepts loyally the venerable Faith of our ancestors in the living communion which exists between us and our brothers who are in the glory of Heaven or who are yet being purified after their death..." (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, No. 51). The Catechism asserts, "From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic Sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God" (CCC #1032). However, if indeed the departed soul has been purified and now rests in God's presence in Heaven, then those prayers and sacrifices offered benefit the other souls in purgatory through the love and mercy of God.
Let us raise this prayer to God: “God of infinite mercy, we entrust to Your immense goodness all those who have left this world for eternity, where You wait for all humanity, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ Your Son, Who died as a ransom for our sins. Look not, O Lord, on our poverty, our suffering, our human weakness, when we appear before You to be judged for joy or for condemnation. Look upon us with mercy, born of the tenderness of Your heart, and help us to walk in the ways of complete purification. Let none of Your children be lost in the eternal fire, where there can be no repentance. We entrust to You, O Lord, the souls of our beloved dead, of those who have died without the comfort of the sacraments, or who have not had an opportunity to repent, even at the end of their lives. May none of them be afraid to meet You, after their earthly pilgrimage, but may they always hope to be welcomed in the embrace of Your infinite mercy. May our Sister, corporal death find us always vigilant in prayer and filled with the goodness done in the course of our short or long lives. Lord, may no earthly thing ever separate us from You, but may everyone and everything support us with a burning desire to rest peacefully and eternally in You. Amen.” (Fr Antonio Rungi, Passionist, Prayer for the Dead). (from Pope Francis’ Angelus message on Nov 2, 2014).
When I was young, the devotion to the Holy Souls was very popular. People offered Masses for the Holy Souls. On All Souls Day each Priest offered three Masses, people came in great numbers for the Masses and they visited the Church often during the day to gain indulgences by their prayers. Even today relatives have Mass offered for their loved ones on their anniversary, birthday, Christmas and Easter. Sadly, however, prayer for the Holy Souls is not as popular as in times past. If I were to ask what is the best thing you can do for a loved one who has died what would you say? A funeral to talk about them? A nice grave and headstone? A tree, plant or a beautiful flower? Have a wonderful reception? Yes all those things are nice. But the best gift is prayer because that is the only thing that can help them on their journey to the Lord. I have put at the end of my will, “Please don’t spend time talking about me, spend time praying for me.” For it is a holy and wholesome thing to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sin. (Oct 30, 2009) (email@example.com)
In Kohima, Nagaland there is a War cemetery, where the allied soldiers who died during the War are buried. On the door of the Cemetery, it is written, “Tell them that we gave our today for your tomorrow.” Like the soldiers of World War II, the memory of our near and dear ones is a reminder that we need to be grateful to them because what we are today is mainly due to their efforts and sacrifices. A Scottish poet has written, “If I have done anything in life, it is because I was able to stand on the shoulders of my dad.”Elias Dias in ‘Divine Stories for Families,’ quoted by Fr. Botelho.
Websites of the week on All Souls Day
7) Do our souls go to sleep when we die?