For Catholics, November is the month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory. The Catechism teaches: “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” (CCC 1030).
C.S. Lewis echoes this understanding well in his Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer:
“Our souls demand purgatory, don’t they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, “It is true, my son, that your breath smells and that your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy”?
Should we not reply, “With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I’d rather be cleaned first.”
“It may hurt, you know.” —“Even so, sir.”
Those suffering but hopeful souls whom our prayers assist will someday be in heaven and will pray for us as we journey. And so, November is an ideal time to help the Holy Souls through prayer and acts of love and charity. It’s also a good time to remember that we are sinners and must strengthen our own souls so that we may enter heaven.
Continuing with this monthly series on ways to showcase each month’s Catholic theme in your life, click here for 10 ways you can honor the Holy Souls in Purgatory this November.