We can help much and in different ways the souls who are preparing to enter Heaven and remain still in Purgatory, in the midst of untold sorrows and sufferings. We know that "the union of those who travel with their brothers and sisters who have fallen asleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but rather... is strengthened by the communication of spiritual goods". Let us now be more united to those who have gone before us!
The Second Reading of the Mass reminds us that Judas Maccabeus, having taken up a collection, sent a thousand silver drachmas to Jerusalem, so that a sacrifice might be offered for the sins of those who had died in battle, because he considered that a great grace was reserved for those who had died after a pious life. And the sacred author adds: It is therefore most holy and salutary to pray for the dead, that they may be freed from their sins. The Church has always offered suffrages and prayers for the faithful departed. St. Isidore of Seville affirmed already in his time that offering sacrifices and prayers for the repose of the dead was a custom observed throughout the Church. For this reason, the Saint assures us, it is thought to be a custom taught by the Apostles themselves8.
The Holy Mass, which has infinite value, is the most important thing we have to offer for the souls in Purgatory. We can also offer for them the indulgences that we gain on earth; our prayers, especially the Holy Rosary; work, pain, adversities, etc. These suffrages are the best way of manifesting our love for those who have gone before us and are awaiting their encounter with God; in a particular way we should pray for our relatives and friends. Our parents will always occupy a place of honor in these prayers. They also help us greatly in this exchange of spiritual goods of the Communion of Saints. "The blessed souls in purgatory. Out of charity, out of justice, and out of an excusable selfishness, they can do so much in God's sight; keep them very much in mind in your sacrifices and in your prayer.
"May you be able to say, when you name them: "My good friends, the souls in purgatory...".