All Souls Day (Church Suffering) concludes the trilogy I referred to 2 day ago.
It’s the commemoration of the souls of the faithful (Church Militant) who have departed this world in need of purification and full conformity to Jesus. They are the Church Suffering—they will enter Heaven but first need to undergo a final purification. They suffer b/c they long to enter and behold the Face of God.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
1030 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.
1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned…
As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.
(St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4,39:PL 77,396; cf. Mt 12:31).
Purgatory is an invention of the Mercy of God made possible by the saving Blood of Jesus Christ. If one hasn’t been fully sanctified (by responding to the grace of God with love: repenting, praying, suffering with Him, works of mercy—becoming Christ-like through the Holy Spirit) in this life so as to immediately join the ranks of Church Militant, GOD has provided purgatory.
To quote the Catechism again:
1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: “Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.”(2 Macc 12:46). From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:
Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.
(St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in 1 Cor. 41,5:PG 61,361; cf. Job 1:5).
When we pray for the dead and offer suffrages for them we are carrying out a a great act of love and concern that will hasten their journey home. And then they’ll pray for us.
These past 3 days we’ve looked at the Communion of Saints. The Saints in Heaven pray for us, we pray for the souls in purgatory. We’re all in this together!