In every Mass that is offered the Church orders a special prayer for the dead. In all her offices and prayers she remembers them in those beautiful and familiar words “May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.” Not only that but she has appointed a special day each year on which the Holy Sacrifice is solemnly offered for them and has consecrated the whole month of November, during which period she urges all her children to be particularly mindful of “those who have gone before us and sleep in the sleep of peace.” They are confirmed in grace, they are “the holy souls” and most dear to God; but they must be cleansed by the purifying fire from every slightest stain of defilement before they can enter into His all-holy presence.
They can do nothing for themselves. The time of meriting has passed for them. The night has fallen upon them, wherein, as our divine Saviour said, “no man can work.” (John, ix, 4) They are utterly helpless in their intense suffering, and entirely dependent upon the mercy of God, the intercession of the angels and saints in heaven, and the prayers, alms deeds, mortifications, indulgences and Masses above all, offered for them upon this earth.
If an angel of God went down into purgatory and asked them why they had not long ago been delivered, they might well answer like the poor man at the pool of Bethsaida answered our Divine Master that he had no friend to help him. (John, v)
Let us remember those holy souls who cannot help themselves in that prison of purgatory by gaining all the indulgences we can in their favour. Let us not disappoint them, let us begin today to redouble our charity and loving kindness towards the holy souls.