Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What is the significance of All Souls Day?

As mentioned in the previous post after Halloween comes All Saints Day. This year we will celebrate All Saints on Sunday, but on Monday our school community will celebrate All Souls Day. Not being a holy day of obligation I thought this would be a witness for the students to come together to pray for the souls of the dear ones who are in purgatory.
This morning while reading a blog I was reminded that it being the Year for Priests it would be appropriate to pray in a special way for the souls of the departed priests. In that the priests are marked by signs of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, they are still human and not always in a state of grace. We forget the man behind the clerics as a human being is tempted in all things and must reconcile his sinfulness to God as we all do.
There are special indulgences for All Souls Day as well as Plenary Indulgences granted to all the faithful who are truly repentant, attend the Divine Sacrifice of the Mass and offer prayers to Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest for the first Thursday of the Month during the Year for Priests. This would be an incredible week to offer for the souls of the departed priests. To receive a Plenary Indulgence, a person must be in a state of grace by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, prayed in accordance with the Pope's monthly intentions, an Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be, and celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
An indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment due sins already forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned which the follower of Christ obtains through the intervention of the Church. Christ died for our sinfulness, but the sin is still ours alone and we make reparation through the Sacrament and with our penance. The Church as minister of the redemption authoritatively dispenses and applies the treasury of the satisfaction won by Christ and the saints to the faithful follower of Christ. In a nutshell, indulgences shorten your time in purgatory. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains purgatory as a process, not a place. It will be suffering, but a suffering that cleanses the soul, a "purging" of temporal punishment due to sin. This is the suffering we will enjoin to Christ. There will be rewards in heaven after our own suffering on our own "cross". It makes sense, why would we be granted easy access to heaven when God's own Son suffered so? The reality is who will be in a perfect state of holiness at the time of their death, what are the chances? With the indulgences we are granted we pray for ourselves and others to have a shortened time in purgatory. If you pray for someone who has already made it to the Beatific Vision, those prayers will be offered for someone else.
This is how God's mercy is led to forgiveness and it becomes possible for the sinner who has repented sincerely, to share, as soon as they are capable of it, in the full enjoyment of the benefits of God's family. There is a connection made through prayer between those in heaven, in purgatory, and those still on earth. This is what points to that communion of saints. We are all in that number.

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