Every month, we suggest a Faith Practice which you and your home, school or parish community might like to take on as part of your commitment for the Year of Faith. It is our hope that these simple practices will stir in us the ‘renewed conversion of the Lord’ that Pope Benedict XVI calls for in Porta Fidei (n. 6).
Faith Practice of the Month: Praying for those who have died
The month of November has been set aside by the Church as a month in which we particularly remember those who have died. The Church assures us that we can help our departed brothers and sisters by prayer, by doing penance for them and by gaining indulgences for them. During November we place a particular emphasis on visiting the graves of those in our families who have died and on praying for them. We can also ask them to help us. Most particularly we can remember them at Mass and have Mass offered for them.
The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church reminds us that ‘The union of the wayfarers with the brothers and sisters who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods’ (Lumen Gentium, 49).
Especially on 2 November, but right through the month, we remember the dead. We remember especially our departed brothers and sisters who are being prepared in purgatory for the eternal banquet with God in Heaven. Many people, when they die, are in a state of friendship with God but are not yet quite ready to enter heaven. They may still have traces of sin from the small daily sins which we all commit and which require God’s forgiveness. There is also the temporal punishment due to sins which have been forgiven and for which people may not have done sufficient penance during their lives on earth. The Church uses the term ‘purgatory’ to describe this purification after death. Purgatory is a sign of God’s constant reaching out in forgiveness to all people and of his desire that we will all, one day, be with him in heaven.
Pray the following prayers silently or with others:
Prayers for the faithful departed
May the divine assistance remain always with us,
And may the souls of the faithful departed,
Through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.
Prayer of Cardinal John Henry Newman
May he support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging, and a holy rest and peace at last.
Previous Faith Practices of the Month:
October 2012: Pray part of the Rosary every day