My grandma always said, “Jesus and the saints are your best friends. The poor souls in Purgatory will be your future best friends.” I didn’t always understand this as a child, but now it is very clear how the poor souls, in which we pray for while they suffer in Purgatory, will one day be our advocates in heaven.
We are now in an unprecedented time as a society, but especially for the Church. The suspension of public Masses has left many devout Catholics in a place of limbo with limited availability for the Sacrament of Confession and a sorrowful heart empty of the Most Holy Eucharist. But during this time of Lent, we understand it is our obligation to empty our souls, hearts, and inordinate bodily desires in preparation for the Resurrection of Christ.
This Lent may be a bit different, but we should not be too surprised. If we truly desire to follow God’s Will, then we must accept His gifts, no matter how big or small, joyful or sorrowful. The closing of non-essential businesses, such as restaurants, were very common during Lent several centuries ago. The majority of society observed the Lenten practice of solitude, penance, and prayer. We can find solace knowing that Lent 2020 gives us a level of isolation and solitude that many saints and Catholics experienced in the past.
Lent is the time God has designated for us to wait – for Him. It is not one person’s sins that placed Christ on the Cross, or one person’s evil actions that sent this virus. On the contrary, we all contributed to the suffering of Christ on the Cross through our sins. Let’s not forget one significant detail: We have an army of future best friends, future saints, who are patiently waiting. The sufferings of purgatory may be dreadful, but the souls’ most intense pain is the loss of God. Yet, that void also gives them consolation for they know there is hope. After their time of suffering is fulfilled, they will also be in heaven beholding the Beatific Vision.
During this current Lenten journey, we have an opportunity to have a deep connection with the Poor Souls. It has always been of the utmost importance to pray for the Souls in Purgatory, as they cannot pray for themselves. Just as these souls are withheld from God, so too are we during this Lent. While the souls suffer in Purgatory, we suffer along with them on earth. But we are not alone. We have each other and one day, through our prayers and penance those poor souls will be with God in heaven. The same will happen to us on earth – this unusual situation will end, the Churches will open, Lent will end, Christ will rise from the dead, and He will dwell in our souls at Holy Communion when Masses resume and we will be once again united.
God’s goodness has no bounds and during this Lent, He has given us an opportunity to deeply connect to the Poor Souls. Let us not waste this opportunity to release through our prayers and penance many, many poor souls from the flames of Purgatory. Which in turn, these released souls will be counted among our saintly friends in heaven and who will pray us and our deliverance as we suffer isolation from God.
Prayer of St. Gertrude (Prayer to Release 1,000 Poor Souls from Purgatory)
Eternal Father, I offer Thee 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, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.
Small Daily Penitential Acts for the Poor Souls
- Don’t press snooze on the alarm clock.
- Wake 15 minutes early for prayer or spiritual reading.
- Make your bed immediately in the morning.
- Take the dishes out of the dishwasher rather than letting them sit.
- Wash and fold one basket of wash per day.
- Read an extra book to the children.
- Sit with your spouse and talk, even if you’re tired.
- Pray the Rosary with your family. Maybe even 15 decades as Our Lady requested at Fatima.
- Take the time to make dinner a special time for your family.
Copyright 2020 Danielle Heckenkamp