In our Church liturgical calendar year we commemorate November 1 as all saints day and November 2 as all souls day.
Both groups include the faithful departed. The saints enjoy total and complete union with God in the life hereafter. The faithful departed holy souls are also saved but undergo a purgation before they can appear unblemished before the almighty God.
Both days are extra special to me because my youngest child and daughter Rosalie was expected on November 2 but arrived a day early on November 1! How awesome for her to have her birthday on the feast of All Saints. I pray she becomes one!
I have also lost many family members including my father and brother to death and pray for them daily.
The Cathechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that “death puts and end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ”(1021; see 2 Tim 1:9-10) The Holy Souls are those “who die in God’s grace and friendship” but who are “still imperfectly purified…; after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (CCC 1030). Part of the joy of belonging to the Church is the privilege of helping the Holy Souls to enter heaven. The Church “commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead”(CCC 1032).
Saint Catherine of Genoa states in her treatise on purgatory that “if a soul were brought to see God when it had still a trifle of which to purge itself, a great injury would be done it.” Conversely, “a great happiness is granted to the Holy Souls that grows as they draw nearer God. For every glimpse which can be had of God exceeds any pain or joy a man can feel. The Holy Souls clearly see God to be on fire with extreme love for them. Strongly and unceasingly this love draws the soul with that uniting look, as though it had nothing else to do than this.” We offer our penances with the hope of giving the Holy Souls such a glimpse of God. Saint Augustine assures us: “It cannot be doubted that the prayers of the Church relieve the Holy Souls, and move God to treat them with more clemency than their sins deserve.”
May we all answer the Universal Call to Holiness and strive to become the saints God has uniquely called each and every one of us to be.
Part of this article was taken from the November Magnificat P. 36, Praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory by Father Peter John Cameron, O.P.