Heaven Calls

By Paul Ryan

A retreat cabin on the river to escape to was always my plan. An elderly cabin owner, Glen, had the answer to my prayer. Glen’s cabin was a one-room school house moved to the riverfront — perfect for my purpose. And the view of the river was comforting, to say the least. We closed on the purchase with simply a handshake, and my little piece of Heaven was complete.

Jump ahead 40 years and Glen is one of 22 people who had cabins here who have since died. Each year, we visit his grave and the graves of several other special neighbors. We helped each other through storms, cleaning up the mess left afterwards, and with many other projects as well. At this writing, I’m the oldest guy here (86 years). I was guided by the Holy Spirit to pray for my cabin friends, my family, and the many people who have inspired me during my journey. Devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the souls in Purgatory are some of my favorite devotions. The book For Souls in Purgatory, by the “Purgatory lady,” Susan Tassone, was particularly rewarding to my prayer life. My late mother’s prayer book was very helpful as well. I have called upon the saints to assist the Holy Souls.

The supply of obituaries and Mass cards are overflowing the container that I keep them in. Like other fellow prayer partners, I would pick one, two, or even three out when visiting the retreat. I called on my patron saints, Paul, Jude, and Leo the Great, to join me.

Fast forward to 2021. The Holy Spirit nudged me to pray intently that everyone in my vast number of names would be released from their suffering. According to tradition, the largest numbers of Holy Souls are released from Purgatory on Christmas. What a Christmas gift: Heaven with our Lord! What joy! Picture the praise, thanksgiving, awe, peace, love, sainthood, and reunited families.

Paul Ryan is a Holy Souls Sodality member from Marion, Iowa.

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