Did you know that each month has a traditional Catholic devotion? This year, let’s focus on each devotion month-by-month to grow in our faith and traditions! Make yourself notes, write it on your calendar, and pray a specific prayer each day of the month to remember. You could use a prayer already associated with the devotion or pray a personal one.

Look at your bulletin’s Mass list. Most churches put names next to the Mass. Those people are in need of prayers and most of the time parishes pray for people who have passed on. Whereas canonized saints we know are in Heaven, we make sure to do all we can for others who have passed, especially those in most need, by praying that they, too, are in Heaven.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us about the state of purification called purgatory (paragraph 1031). Nothing evil is allowed in Heaven. Jesus’ sacrifice is all transforming, not just a “cover-up.” What I mean by this is that we believe that Christ’s sacrifice is not just making us appear to be pure, but when we really accept Him wholly we are transformed. We just need to receive Him.

As imperfect, fallen humans, we might likely not enter into eternal life completely spotless, and that is why His love continues to purify us in the state of purgatory. What’s left of sin is taken away. Traditionally, people ask for 40 Masses to be said for a person who has passed. Forty biblically represents a long time, so people were aiming to help someone even if that person was said to be in Purgatory for a long time.  

The afterlife doesn’t necessarily have a sense of time, so when someone speaks in manners of time, it’s just us finite humans attempting to understand the afterlife. We should prepare ourselves to be rid of all sin as soon as possible through prayer, the sacraments given by God, and constant conversion. That way, we can enjoy the Kingdom of Heaven where we all belong “sooner”—so to speak.

Until then, we still strive to understand and visualize purgatory. For example, Dante’s famous Divine Comedy is a poem about a character’s journey through heaven, hell, and purgatory.  If you want to understand Purgatory better, check out our article on it –> https://catholic-link.org/purgatory-fr-mike-schmitz-explains/

Don’t just look at your bulletin’s list of those in need of prayers or who have passed—actually pray for them by name. This is a good opportunity to ask saints to pray for those in purgatory as well:

Nov. 4th – St. Charles Borromeo

Nov. 11th – St. Martin of Tours

Nov. 13th – St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Nov. 15th – St. Albert the Great

Nov. 16th – St. Gertrude and St. Margaret of Scotland

Nov. 21st – The Presentation of Mary

Nov. 22nd – St. Cecilia

Nov. 23rd – St. Clement I

Nov. 24th – Feast Day of Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe

Nov. 25th – St. Catherine of Alexandra

Nov. 28th – Thanksgiving (United States)

Reflection Questions:

1.      What depiction of Purgatory helps you understand it most? (i.e. Dante’s Puragtio, C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce… )

2.      Who are you praying for specifically this month?

3.      Did your celebration of All Soul’s and All Saint’s Day (our feasts around Halloween) properly express your faith? (Check out our Halloween guide: https://catholic-link.org/is-halloween-catholic/ and one specifically for college students.

4.      How much are you willing to purge now from your soul now to become a saint in Heaven?

5.      Are you into “spooky saints”? If so, try researching ad befriending the saint, thought dead, who came alive and had visited heaven, hell, a purgatory—St. Christina

6. What are you most thankful for? How will you show your gratitude to God?

7. How are you preparing for Advent?

Challenge: Pray for one person by name each day. Offer up sacrifices for that person, pray a rosary, or maybe ask for a Mass to be celebrated in a deceased person’s honor. It can be the same person if you’ve had a recent loss, or you can pick a stranger every day. Visit a cemetery for names if you need help and pray for each person on each rosary bead.