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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 Feast of All Souls

Acts, Chapter 2, Verse 26-27
26 Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted; my flesh, too, will dwell in hope, 27 because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.

God desires that all men be saved and Christ by the action of His precious blood has sought to redeem all and He desires that none see corruption. Traditionally during the month of November the church seeks to aid all those who are in purgatory awaiting the grace of God.

ALL SOULS DAY is the annual commemoration of all those souls who departed this life in the grace and favor of God but who are still detained in purgatory. Purgatory is that third place in the other world in which the souls of the departed suffer the temporal punishment of those sins for which in life they have not sufficiently atoned, and in which they are purified until they are worthy to appear in the presence of God.

How can we assist the souls suffering in purgatory? 1. By our prayers. The Holy Scripture says; It is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins. The Catholic Church has therefore always taught that the prayer of the faithful for the departed is holy and wholesome. 2. By the holy sacrifice of the Mass, the fruits of which are most beneficial to the souls in purgatory. For this reason holy Church has always, from the time of the apostles, remembered the dead in the holy Mass. 3. By gaining indulgences, and other good works, by which we supplicate God to show mercy to the souls of the suffering, to accept what is performed by us in satisfaction for the punishment to be endured by them, and to bring them into the kingdom of everlasting peace and light. (Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896)

An excellent book on purgatory, by Rev. F.X. Schouppe, S.J., entitled, Purgatory is worth checking out; after the death of my own father reading it brought me much consolation.

Visiting the Dead[1]

The laudable custom of visiting the dead may begin as early as the afternoon of All Saints' Day and may continue as late as the following week, but the most popular time is during All Souls' Day itself. Families travel, often at great distance and in their best apparel, to visit the graves of friends and relatives, lighting candles, bringing flowers, and kneeling there in prayer. Processions can be conducted where the priest leads the congregation in litanies for the dead and blesses the graves with holy water. Often times these graves are decorated and groomed the week before, so that when the day of commemoration comes, everything is suitably prepared.


Council of Trent[2]

If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged, either in this world or in Purgatory, before the gates of Heaven can be opened, let him be anathema.

Decree Concerning Purgatory. The Council of Trent. Session XXV. December 4, 1563

Since the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has, following the sacred writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers, taught in sacred councils and very recently in this ecumenical council, that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls there detained are aided by the suffrages of the faithful and chiefly by the Acceptable Sacrifice of the Altar, the Holy Council commands the bishops that they strive diligently to the end that the sound doctrine of Purgatory, transmitted by the Fathers and sacred councils, be believed and maintained by the faithful of Christ, and be everywhere taught and preached.

Canons Concerning The Sacrament Of Penance. The Council of Trent. Session XIV, November 25, 1551 

CANON 12. If anyone says that God always pardons the whole penalty together with the guilt and that the satisfaction of penitents is nothing else than the faith by which they perceive that Christ has satisfied for them, let him be anathema.

CANON 13. If anyone says that satisfaction for sins, as to their temporal punishment, is in no way made to God through the merits of Christ by the punishments inflicted by Him and patiently borne, or by those imposed by the priest, or even those voluntarily undertaken, as by fasts, prayers, almsgiving or other works of piety, and that therefore the best penance is merely a new life, let him be anathema.

CANON 14. If anyone says that the satisfactions by which penitents atone for their sins through Christ are not a worship of God but traditions of men, which obscure the doctrine of grace and the true worship of God and the beneficence itself of the death of Christ, let him be anathema.

CANON 15. If anyone says that the keys have been given to the Church only to loose and not also to bind, and that therefore priests, when imposing penalties on those who confess, act contrary to the purpose of the keys and to the institution of Christ, and that it is a fiction that there remains often a temporal punishment to be discharged after the eternal punishment has by virtue of the keys been removed, let him be anathema.

Chapter IX— On the Works Of Satisfaction. Session XIV. The Council of Trent. November 25, 1551.

It [the Council] teaches furthermore that the liberality of the divine munificence is so great that we are able through Jesus Christ to make satisfaction to God the Father, not only by punishments voluntarily undertaken by ourselves to atone for sins, or by those imposed by the judgment of the priest according to the measure of our offense, but also, and this is the greatest proof of love, by the temporal afflictions imposed by God and borne patiently by us.



[1]http://www.holytrinitygerman.org/postpentecostcustoms.htm#All_Saints__and_All_Souls__Day


[2]Schouppe S.J., Rev. Fr. F. X.. Purgatory Explained (with Supplemental Reading: What Will Hell Be Like?)

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