Every November 2nd the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of All Souls, a day devoted to remembering and praying in a special way for the Church Suffering— the Holy Souls in Purgatory who are being purified on their way to heaven after death. The Church sees this practice as so important that the entire month of November is dedicated especially to this petition.
As the feast approaches, many of us will have questions re-awakened in our minds:
- What exactly is Purgatory?
- What does the Church teach about its necessity?
- Who exactly are the Holy (Poor) Souls? How can they be both poor and holy?
Praying for the Holy SoulsIn regards to the Church Militant (that's us!) praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote:
"The practice of recommending to God the souls in Purgatory, that He may mitigate the great pains which they suffer, and that He may soon bring them to His glory, is most pleasing to the Lord and most profitable to us. For these blessed souls are His eternal spouses, and most grateful are they to those who obtain their deliverance from prison, or even a mitigation of their torments. When, therefore, they arrive in Heaven, they will be sure to remember all who have prayed for them."What an incredible exchange of love! We can pray for the Holy Souls now, since they can no longer pray for themselves, and when they reach heaven they can intercede on our behalf. This powerful reflection reminds us of the beautiful reality of the mystical Body of Christ in which we, the souls in heaven, and the souls in purgatory all share!
In light of this inspiration, how can we pray more specifically and intentionally for the Holy Souls?
One beautiful way to intercede for them is to offer the recitation of the rosary on their behalf. Our Lady told St. Bridget:
“I am the Mother of all the Poor Souls, for my prayers serve to mitigate their sufferings every single hour that they remain there (in Purgatory).”While Mary herself never experienced the stain of sin, her life was, like ours, a journey of faith with Christ. What better way to pray than to ask our Mother, and the Mother of All Souls, to aid the souls in purgatory as they are being perfected in Christ on their journey to heaven.
With this in mind, I’d like to share with you a breathtaking means by which we can pray in a special way for the poor souls in purgatory: The Catholic Company's exclusive Holy Souls Rosary!
Inspiration from a Holy WomanBlessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, a 19th century mystic, experienced multiple visions of purgatory. In one, she saw suffering souls go from dark to light as she prayed fervently for them. (You might be interested and surprised to know that this same holy woman's visions on the passion of Jesus form the basis for the worldwide acclaimed film, "The Passion of the Christ.")
Very moved by such imagery, The Catholic Company decided to design a rosary based on this vision. The opening beads and first decade of the rosary have a coal-black hue. As you continue praying, the beads lighten, and end in lovely pure white pearls, signifying the fact that the souls who receive our prayers are purified and prepared to enter heaven.
A Unique CrucifixThe crucifix on this rosary is a unique one called the "Unity Cross." Its roots come from the Schoenstatt movement, but it has quickly spread far and wide outside the movement.
In the image, Mary stands beneath the cross of Christ, and catches in a chalice the Precious Blood which falls from Christ’s pierced heart. This captures an intimate moment of attachment and union between Mother and Son—a union that each member of the Body of Christ shares in and strives for.
Schoenstatt explains that the image expresses Christ’s desire that “all may be one.” (John 17:21)
This goes back to the reason we’re praying the rosary for the Holy Souls in the first place: to support our brothers and sisters in Christ who await their entrance into heaven!
Let us gather together with Mary, who we can imitate in aiding Christ's mission to redeem mankind, and bring every soul to heaven with Him.
Mary, Most Merciful Mother, pray for All Souls.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we place all our trust in You!
If you feel inspired to pray with the Holy Souls Rosary, you can click here to purchase it.
More ways to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory: