"For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day." // John 6:40
Last autumn, I rather ambitiously set out to read The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri. I dusted off the copy I had bought years ago (in another fit of ambition), one with good footnotes, and found a podcast to walk me through the one hundred cantos which make up the Comedy. I wanted to be ready for the set of lectures that were slated for after Friday Stations at my parish during the upcoming Lent. And while I had planned to read the whole thing, I just barely made it to the beginning of the third part on Heaven, when I ran out of steam.
Nevertheless, I drew great benefit from the sections I had managed to finish. In the first two parts of his Comedy, Dante writes of an experience of being guided by Virgil through Hell and Purgatory, giving a theologically sound understanding of the effects of sin. In each circle, or level, of Hell and Purgatory, Dante encounters sinners and converses with them about their major failings in life.
And in Purgatory, he was continually asked to pray for the souls of those to whom he spoke and even further requested, when he got back to earth, that their living relatives also pray for them. The truth is that the souls in Purgatory depend on us, the living on earth, to pray for them, to help them through the purification process which readies them for the complete happiness of Heaven (see Catechism of the Catholic Church §§ 1030-32).
Sister, today is the Feast of All Souls, a day which comes after the glorious Solemnity of All Saints. This feast was established by the Church to remind us of the need of those who have died for our prayers. This month, and especially this week, are specially set aside by the Church to pray for the dead. Take some time to look into the ways the Church encourages us to pray for the souls in Purgatory and give your beloved departed the gift of your prayers for their souls.
Give your beloved departed the gift of your prayers. // Susanna SpencerClick to tweet