The month of November is dedicated to remembering the dead in the Church calendar. We kicked off with the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls as we remember those members of the Body of Christ who have gone before us, first the ones in heaven and then the ones working their way there in Purgatory. However, the entire month is dedicated to these people and we as Christians are encouraged to pray for those souls in Purgatory, to help speed them up so they can enjoy the presence of God in heaven sooner.
Purgatory itself is sometimes a misunderstood aspect of the Catholic faith. It isn’t, as some people think, some sort of middle ground for people not good enough for heaven or bad enough for hell. Everyone in Purgatory is going to heaven eventually. It’s a declared doctrine of the Church that’s been around since the time of the apostles with plenty of biblical evidence to support it. Faithful Jews, Jesus, and the apostles all joined in prayers for the deceased, and the Scriptures speak of a cleansing fire after death (see 1 Corinthians 3:15, 1 Peter 1:7, and Matthew 12:32). This cleansing fire is the penance that people who are on their way to heaven endure so they can be made perfect enough to go to paradise. This November, say a prayer for any loved ones who have died. While it’s nice to think that your angelic grandmother went straight to heaven, and she very well might have, one of the most loving and compassionate things you can do is say prayers in case they are in Purgatory. Even more so, say a prayer for the people who don’t have anyone to pray for them, no religious relatives on earth to help them through their penance. If you need extra incentive, souls that you help through Purgatory are very grateful people and make great intercessors in heaven if you need someone else to pray for you when you are going though trying times. Pray for these souls, you won’t regret it.