Catholics believe that our prayers can have a real effect on the souls in purgatory, as we call upon God’s mercy and grace to shorten their time spent in purification.
One Catholic ghost story reiterates that point, narrating how a man would pray every day for the souls in purgatory and how they helped him in return.
The story is found in the medieval collection known as the Golden Legend, which contains a variety of legends passed on over the centuries.
There was a man that always as he passed through the cemetery, prayed the De profundis for all Christian souls. And one time he was beset with his enemies, that as he ran away from them, he leapt into the cemetery. And they followed, with the intent to murder him. At that moment, all the dead bodies rose, and each held such a weapon in his hand that they defended that man, who had prayed for them, and chased away his enemies, putting them in great fear.
The story sounds a bit like a modern day horror movie, with the dead rising from their graves to chase away a band of brigands.
Nevertheless, the story highlights the power of prayer for the souls in purgatory and how they truly do appreciate our prayers. They will repay us for those prayers when they can, most importantly when they reach God’s throne. At that point, these souls will be fully united with God and will in turn intercede for us, calling down God’s grace and mercy upon us.