In all her wisdom, the Catholic Church teaches that our soul can end up in one of three places when we die.
The first is Heaven. Yay, backflip! Can I get an Amen?! Secondly, Hell. Yikes, no thanks. Lastly, we could go to Purgatory, a place where we are freed of our earthly attachments so we can be completely happy with God in Heaven. Well, I guess if I have to wait, it’s better than damnation. Am I right? (Catechism of the Catholic Church §1022)
Today, on this holy day, we honor and pray for the dead. Yesterday, we celebrated all the Saints up in Heaven and today we, the faithful not-yet-departed (that’s you and me) pray for all the souls needing cleansing before joining our Heavenly Father.
We have a job to do. Not only must we strive to die in a state of perfect grace through our earthly choices, but we also pray for those souls who have died in God’s grace but are still imperfect and need purification before entering in the joy of Heaven.
If only we had a prayer to help the souls in Purgatory!
Enter Saint Gertrude the Great! I like to call her Gertie. A 13th century Benedictine nun, theologian extraordinaire, devotee to the Sacred Heart, and bride of Christ was given visions by Jesus and had a deep solidarity with those still being purified in Purgatory. This is a great prayer that Jesus revealed to Saint Gertrude to help us know how to pray for the souls in Purgatory. Let’s pray well for them that they will soon be ready to enter the fullness of joy in Heaven!
Eternal Father, I offer You the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, for those in my own home and in my family. Amen. (Source)
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Join me in saying Saint Gertrude’s prayer for all the souls in Purgatory.
Samantha Aguinaldo-Wetterholm is a wife to Paul, mom to two little ones, and practices dentistry at a public health community center for low income families in the Bay Area, California. She (unashamedly) thinks ice cream is its own food group, loves anything Harry Potter, does not leave the house without wearing sparkly earrings, and is an enthusiastic proponent of the Oxford comma. Find out more about her here.