Praying for all Souls
by Cynthia Marie – Catholic News
On Tuesday, November 2, we will celebrate All Souls Day, but for Catholics the entire month of November is dedicated to praying for the souls in Purgatory.
Purgatory is the name the Church gives to the final purification after death and judgment, a period when those who die in God’s grace and friendship undergo a purification to achieve the holiness necessary to enter into the joy of heaven. All souls in Purgatory are assured of eternal salvation, but they must first be cleansed of all their lesser sins before they can enter the glory of heaven.DOWNLOAD THE BULLETIN
But what about those souls we don’t think were in a state of grace when they died? Should we continue to pray for our loved ones who were fallen-away Catholics? Our atheist friends? Or what about those (uncanonized) people who lived such holy lives that we figure they must already be in heaven?
When we’re talking about the communion of saints and the body of Christ, there are all kinds of questions that come up with this topic, like whether we’ll all enter heaven at the same time or whether it’s an immediate judgment. The Catechism says there’s an immediate judgment, but what does that mean when there’s no time? You can kind of go cross-eyed and get a headache after a while.
So in fact, just keep praying. Never could we just give up hope and say, “Well, this person is probably in hell. I’m going to stop praying for them.” That’s not Christian. In fact, in the book of Romans we hear “hope against hope” – that’s faith. That was Abraham’s faith, and that’s who Catholics are. We’re the ones who hope against all hope that Jesus can purify and can save. We can’t draw conclusions, we just keep praying.”