What a wonderful time of the year to share the immensity of our faith with our children. After having celebrated All Saints Day yesterday, a great opportunity to teach about the Church Triumphant and to remember that we have friends in Heaven who can intercede for us, today we focus on those who await their entrance into Heaven, our very family and friends who have gone on before us, the Church Penitent. Today is a great opportunity to teach our children that we on earth are the Church Militant, those who fight on earth for the Truth of God. One of the greatest things we can do is to offer prayers for the souls in Purgatory during the Octave of the Saints, which begins on November 1st and goes through November 8th.
I was in high school before I lost any of my family members. But that is probably a bit unusual. Most children have some experience of a family member who is no longer with us. Praying for their souls to quickly get to Heaven is a wonderful lesson for at least three reasons.
This world is a pilgrimage. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal,” 2 Corinthians 4:18. Our goal is to be with God in Heaven. We want that for ourselves and for those we love.
Family is forever. Children connect with family and stay connected much better than adults who get so wrapped up in the day-to-day duties of life. Their prayers are very beneficial for their family and friends. The Octave of All Saints gives families a prescribed eight days to pray for the souls in Purgatory. The children could even pray by name for souls each day.
“As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us,” John 17:21. During this Octave of All Saints we can recognize that we are supposed to be one in faith. We have been given a feast to celebrate those who are in Heaven and remember that they can help us through their prayers. We have also been given a special day to remember those who are no longer with us here on earth, but may be in need of our prayers to help them see the Beatific Vision. We are all in this together, one big family in need of each other. The Church gives us, yet again, a means to aid us in our own journey by taking our eyes off of ourselves and looking to the needs of another.
Here are a couple of traditional practices that can become a tradition in your family.
Pray the Family Rosary every day during the Octave of All Saints replacing the Fatima Prayer with the Requiem Prayer. (Found below)
Participate in the practice for the Indulgences for the Holy Souls (also found below)
November is such a wonderful time to draw nearer to the Church in all three states; Triumphant, Penitent, and Militant. It is a time to really think about and to share with our children the immensity of the Church here on earth as well as in Heaven and in Purgatory. Happy All Saints and All Souls! Benedicite!
Indulgences for the Poor Souls
On November 2, All Souls Day, and for the following 6 days, a plenary indulgence for Poor Souls will be granted to those who visit any parish church or public oratory and there recite one Our Father and one Credo. Only one plenary indulgence may be granted each day.
The usual conditions to acquire a plenary indulgence are:
detachment from sin; which is a true sorrow for, and repudiation of, all one’s sin, mortal and venial.
Reception of Holy Communion on the day the indulgence is sought.
Prayer for the intention of the Holy Father on the day the indulgence is sought (one Our Father and one Hail Mary suffice, or any other suitable prayer).
Sacramental Confession within a week of completion of the prescribed work.
If these conditions are not met, the indulgence will be partial. Several plenary indulgences may be granted on the basis of a single sacramental confession, but only one plenary indulgence may be gained on the basis of a single Holy Communion and prayer for the pope’s intentions.
Partial indulgences are granted to those who recite Lauds or Vespers of the Office of the Dead, and to those who recite the Eternal Rest Prayer provided below. A partial indulgence may be granted more than once a day.
Requiem Prayer - Eternal Rest
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.