This is the month we remember the dead. Here are some easy ways to do it this year.
For Catholics, November is the month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory. The Catechism teaches: “All who die in God’s grace and friendship but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death, they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.” (CCC 1030)
Those suffering but hopeful souls whom our prayers assist will someday be in heaven and will pray for us as we journey. And so, November is an ideal time to help the Holy Souls through prayer and acts of love and charity. It’s also a good time to remember that we are sinners and must strengthen our own souls so that we may enter heaven. Continuing our monthly series on ways to showcase each month’s Catholic theme in your life, here are 8 ways you can honor the Holy Souls in Purgatory this November:
1Make a Holy Souls resolution this month
It is commonplace to make a resolution for New Year’s in January, deciding to give up a vice or adopt a virtue. There is no better time than the month of the Holy Souls to make a resolution that helps our own souls and those we love get a little closer to heaven. An example of a Holy Souls’ Month resolution: Resolve to pray the Rosary every day to help strengthen your own soul; and also add the “Eternal Rest” prayer at the end for the Holy Souls in Purgatory:
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
2Pray for the souls in Purgatory with St. Gertrude's Prayer
Here it is: Eternal Father, I offer You the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, for those in my own home and in my family. Amen.
3Perform acts of charity and sacrifices for the Holy Souls
Whatever you do in the spirit of this month, why not offer it up for the suffering Holy Souls?
4Make soul cakes
Soul cakes are a medieval Catholic tradition. They are little round cakes made for the feasts of All Saints and All Souls and handed out when “soulers” (usually children and the poor) would knock at the door to offer prayers for the souls of the household. Here’s the recipe I’ll be following this year.