Photo: Marian Archives
Inspired by a Saint to Remember Poor Souls
By Br. Leonard Konopka, MIC (Nov 3, 2006)
"Before All Souls' Day, I went to the cemetery at dusk. â€¦ I managed to open the gate a bit and said: 'If you need something, my dear little souls, I will be glad to help you to the extent that the rule permits me.' I then heard these words: 'Do the will of God; we are happy in the measure that we have fulfilled God's will' (Diary, 518).
The Catholic Church has traditionally dedicated the month of November to the remembrance of poor souls in purgatory. It's only twice in the year that a priest can celebrate three Masses in one day, and Nov. 2 is an opportunity to have them exclusively said for these souls. We can join in spirit with all the Masses being said this day for the souls in purgatory and follow the great interest that St. Faustina had for souls by making her prayer our own:
"Christ, give me souls. Let anything You like happen to me, but give me souls in return. I want the salvation of souls. I want souls to know Your mercy. I have nothing left for myself, because I have given everything away to souls, with the result that on the day of judgment I will stand before You empty-handed, since I have given everything away to souls. Thus You will have nothing on which to judge me, and we shall meet on that day: Love and mercyâ€¦" (Diary, 1426; see also 516-517).
From the beginning of her religious life, St. Faustina was led by our Lord to intercede for souls. He allowed her a view of purgatory, which increased and motivated her to help alleviate the suffering of souls there (see Diary, 20).
Perhaps we have asked ourselves the question, whether our life matters to anyone. Am I a person of worth? We see that St. Faustina may have asked herself the same question: "I became introspective and reflected a long time on how I am fulfilling God's will and how I am profiting from the time that God has given me" (Diary, 515). We need not go very far to fill any gap in this regard. We can pray for the souls in purgatory as they cannot pray for themselves (see Diary, 20).
The poor souls desperately need our prayers and sacrifices. To these souls, we are indeed persons of worth. We may not capture headlines, be quoted by others, or of much influence in our world. However, we cannot imagine how many souls for whom we have prayed will be waiting to greet us when we arrive at the gates of heaven to meet them and our Lord Jesus Christ. With our prayers, they can be freed from their sufferings, and upon being released, will intercede for us while we are still on earth.
When St. Faustina asked the souls in purgatory what their greatest suffering entailed, "They answered me in one voice that their greatest torment was longing for God" (Diary, 20). We can come to realize that our life here on earth may best be lived by deepening our own longing for God now, rather than enduring the anguish of not fulfilling this need within ourselves in purgatory.
The souls in purgatory are giving us a clear indication of their own lack of responding to His invitation to commune with Him. They are now benefiting us by drawing our attention to continuously deepening our relationship with Him with whom we will spend eternity, providing we prepare ourselves well while on earth.
Eternal Rest Grant Unto Them O' Lord and Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Them. May the Souls of All the Faithful Departed Through the Mercy of God Rest in Peace. Amen