"Heaven, Hell and Purgatory" is a pamphlet designed to help the reader reflect on life after death. A selection of passages from the Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska on ... Read more
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Photo: Bill Sosa
Saint Faustina and the Suffering Souls
By Chris Sparks (Nov 8, 2013)
Yes, the Church teaches us about purgatory and the need to pray for the Holy Souls. The Church even dedicates the month of November as a special time of remembrance of the souls in purgatory.
But do we have any other evidence that the deceased need prayer?
Absolutely. A number of the living have visited with the dead. Saint Faustina was one of them. The Apostle of Divine Mercy wrote in her Diary about the time her Guardian Angel led her on a visit to purgatory.
I saw my Guardian Angel, who ordered me to follow him. In a moment I was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls. They were praying fervently, but to no avail, for themselves; only we can come to their aid. The flames which were burning them did not touch me at all. My Guardian Angel did not leave me for an instant. I asked these souls what their greatest suffering was. They answered me in one voice that their greatest torment was longing for God. I saw Our Lady visiting the souls in Purgatory. The souls call her "The Star of the Sea." She brings them refreshment. I wanted to talk with them some more, but my Guardian Angel beckoned me to leave. We went out of that prison of suffering. [I heard an interior voice] which said, "My mercy does not want this, but justice demands it." Since that time, I am in closer communion with the suffering souls. (Diary, 20)
She persevered in prayer for the Holy Souls throughout her life (see Diary entries 240, 274, 346, 1226-1227). Her Diary tells a number of stories of visits by the Holy Souls to beg for prayers and Masses. Often, a member of her congregation who has recently died comes to her to ask for the intercession they need to pass through Purgatory and enter heaven (see Diary, 21, 58, 594, 1185-1187). One time, she went to offer her assistance to the deceased directly — and they responded. She writes:
Before All Souls' Day, I went to the cemetery at dusk. Although it was locked 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)
Saint Faustina wants us to join her in devoting prayers and good works to aid the Holy Souls on their journey to God and life everlasting. One of the days of prayer in the Divine Mercy Novena is dedicated to interceding for the Holy Souls suffering in Purgatory. We are called to pray the Chaplet for the dying to speed them on their way home to heaven.
Join St. Faustina and the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in bringing aid to those who cannot help themselves. Offer prayers and good works for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and set the captives free.
Want to pray for the Holy Souls but don't know where to start? Pray a Rosary for one of the groups of souls on the Marians' Purgatory Board.