Action Alert!

November: Close Connection of the Communion of the Saints

By Jennifer Gregory Miller (bio - articles - email) | Oct 31, 2015

This is my annual reminder that November 1 begins the special opportunity to earn plenary indulgences for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. Visit a cemetery and pray for the departed from November 1-8 and visit a church or oratory on All Souls Day, November 2, praying the Our Father and the Creed. You must fulfill all the requirements for a plenary indulgence. See my posts November: A Month of Poor Souls and Cemeteries and Praying for the Dead and Gaining Indulgences During November.

A Special Time Highlighting the Communion of Saints

Beginning with Halloween, we have a kind of triduum which highlight the close connection and co-operation of the Communion of Saints. Halloween or All Hallows' Eve features the living on earth. We are the Church Militant working towards heaven still fighting the world, the flesh, and the devil. The Solemnity of All Saints focuses on all the souls in heaven, the Church Triumphant, whether officially canonized and proclaimed as saints by the Church, or all the other souls whose names we do not know. And finally All Souls' Day focuses on the Church Suffering; those souls who were not ready to enter heaven, so are suffering in Purgatory until they are cleansed. 

The Communion of Saints is not just a three-tiered separation of souls. There is a special interconnectedness where all the souls throughout all time are linked together. There is communication, whether direct or indirect, within the Mystical Body. The Church Triumphant prays to God for the Militant and Suffering. The Church Militant prays for each other and for the Church Suffering, and ask for the Church Triumphant's intercession. The Church Suffering are the most helpless and while they can pray for the Church Militant and ask for help from the Church Triumphant, it is not until they reach their heavenly goal that their prayers can be most effective.

There are times we forget this special connection, since our eyes cannot see this spiritual reality. But it is real, even more so than this physical world. God sends us constant reminders of this reality, the most difficult one being death of loved ones. I have many friends who are dealing with tragedy and a deep sense of loss especially this year. This is so hard to bear, but the connection of the Communion of saints is meant to be comforting. We aren't helpless; all our prayers and good works aid our faithful departed.

It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins (2 Maccabees. 12:46).

The month of November is dedicated to the Poor Souls in Purgatory. While we should pray always for those who have died, this is a special time of comfort and prayer for those that we lost. It is a further consoling thought knowing we are united with the entire Church Militant to pray for all the faithful departed. 

Eternal Rest, grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Jennifer Gregory Miller is an experienced homemaker, home schooler, and authority on living the liturgical year. She is the primary developer of CatholicCulture.org's liturgical year section. See full bio.

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