We go through each day replenishing our bodies with food and drink, being sure to get in at least three meals a day. What many have failed to do, is replenish the soul. Our bodies are temporary and no matter how much we exercise, eat, diet and make them over, they will be dust. Our soul is eternal and lives on forever. Which do you think is the priority?
Please join us as we journey on the path of salvation. St. Thomas the Apostle offers many spiritual opportunities for you to deepen your walk and knowledge of Jesus. We will offer a different spiritual ministry each month that may speak to your heart. If one or more grabs your attention, please give it a chance by trying it. The Holy Spirit speaks to us continuously and by many different paths. It could be through a friend, enemy, holy Scripture, a spiritual book or one of these ministries. Begin now by asking God to give you ears to hear His Spirit speak to you.
Are you looking for something inspiring to do as a family?
As the weather grows colder and the leaves fall, and Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, it is natural that our thoughts turn to those whom we have loved who are no longer with us.
How appropriate, then, that the Catholic Church offers us November, which begins with All Saints Day and All Souls Day, as the Month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory – those who have died in grace, yet who failed in this life to make satisfaction for all of their sins.
In recent years, perhaps no Catholic doctrine has been more misunderstood by Catholics themselves than the doctrine of Purgatory. Consequently, we tend to downplay it, even seem a little embarrassed by it, and it is the Holy Souls who suffer because of our discomfort with the doctrine.
Purgatory is not, as many people think, one last trial; all of those who make it to Purgatory will one day be in Heaven. Purgatory is where those who have died in grace, but who have not fully atoned for the temporal punishments resulting from their sins, go to finish their atonement before entering Heaven. A soul in Purgatory may suffer, but he has the assurance that he will ultimately enter Heaven when his punishment is complete. Catholics believe Purgatory is an expression of God’s love, His desire to cleanse our souls of all that might keep us from experiencing the fullness of joy in Heaven.
As Christians, we don’t travel through this world alone. Our salvation is wrapped up with the salvation of others, and charity requires us to come to their aid. The same is true of the Holy Souls. In their time in Purgatory, they can pray for us, and we should pray for the faithful departed that they may be freed from the punishment for their sins and enter into Heaven.
We should pray for the dead throughout the year, especially on the anniversary of their death, but in this Month of the Holy Souls, we should devote some time every day to prayer for the dead. We should start with those closest to us – our parents, for instance – but we should also offer prayers for all the souls and especially for those most forsaken.
We believe that those Holy Souls for whom we pray will continue to pray for us after they have been released from Purgatory. If we live Christian lives, we too will likely find ourselves in Purgatory someday, and our acts of charity toward the Holy Souls there now will ensure that they remember us before the throne of God when we are most in need of prayers. It’s a comforting thought, and one that should encourage us, especially in this month of November, to offer our prayers for the Holy Souls.
By Scott P. Richert
Prayer: Jesus, rearrange my priorities. Help me to live a little bit more like you each day. Help me to trust in Your Divine Providence by freely and generously giving to those in need and supporting my parish.