We Catholics remember and pray for the Faithful Departed, especially during the month of November. These are the Holy Souls who have died in grace; that is, in friendship with God, but who still are not quite ready to enter into God’s presence in heaven. They are in a special state of purification we call Purgatory.
Msgr. Charles Pope wrote an essay about the value of praying for others, whether living or deceased. He says that such prayer “is a great and wondrous spiritual work of mercy.” According to Msgr. Pope, prayer for the deceased has declined. People, whose loved ones have died, often presume they are in heaven and don’t need prayer. But before going to heaven, hell, or purgatory, first they must go before the judgment seat of God. Here are the Biblical citations:
It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment (Heb 9:27). St. Paul writes, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Cor 5:10).
At the very least, our loved ones need our prayers during the time between their death and their judgment.
You can read Msgr. Charles Pope’s inspiring blog article here: Community in Mission blog
Another Blogger, Sister Anne Flanagan, at Nun Blog, relates a personal story about her devotion to the Holy Souls. She considers All Souls Day a consolation.
Sister Kathleen Glavich also wrote beautifully and personally about the Holy Souls as well as the Saints! Be sure to read her article at The Catholic Faith Corner.
Each day I pray for my own deceased friends and relatives. This is one prayer that I use:
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and all the souls of the Faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.