Prepping for the Final Days
By Jennifer Gregory Miller ( bio - articles - email ) | Nov 04, 2016 | In The Liturgical Year
There are a few more days left in the “Poor Souls’ Octave” to gain a plenary indulgence applicable only to the Poor Souls in Purgatory. The Church is currently remembering the Poor Souls in Purgatory during November, especially the first eight days of the month. Our family is learning empathy through these days. We have conversations about what we want when we die, and the consensus is not a big party or canonization, but we want prayers for our soul!
I talk to my children about how we are helping our brothers and sisters in Christ who are currently completely helpless. They are suffering because their souls weren’t completely ready to be in the presence of God, and that suffering is so much worse than the hardest things we have had to endure on earth. It’s all a good reminder to us to look at our own souls’ unworthiness, and realize that small little acts of suffering offered up are not isolated acts but affect the whole Body of Christ.
But the best thing my children and I take away from all our works for the Poor Souls is that we have a forever friend once they reach to heaven. They will always be grateful and intercede for us in turn. November is full of lessons of how all those inconveniences, bad moods, little aches and pains or the big heartaches can be fruitful for our lives and others.
The End Times
November is chosen for the month of the Poor Souls not just because of All Souls’ Day. The timing reflects the autumn season of the Northern Hemisphere; the harvests are in, growing seasons ending, leaves changing color and falling, animals preparing for winter and the days shorten. Autumn gives a feeling of end times and a reminder of our mortality.
The Church year also is coming to an end. There are only three more Sundays remaining in Ordinary Time, with November 20 being the Solemnity of Christ the King. The readings in these last days of the Liturgical Year focus on the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell.
Advent begins on November 27, 2016 and continues the themes of the Final Judgment. While the season recalls the first coming of Christ at Bethlehem, the season is a time for preparation for the Parousia, or Second Coming of Christ. Many of the Advent readings and prayers echo the prayers and readings of the final weeks of Ordinary Time.
“Doomsday Prepping” is a hot topic these days. There’s discussions of preparing to survive against zombies, a nuclear holocaust or other hardships during the “end times.” But this is a secular view of prepping to save the body by storing up food, water, generators, ammunition, etc.
Christians are called to “prep” but in a different way. We need to prep for our death and judgment. Are we ready to leave this earth and enter our eternity? The Liturgy brings us constant reminders during November and December to prepare for our end times.
Advent begins the same weekend as the Thanksgiving holiday, which always makes it harder to focus on the change of the Liturgical season. The First Sunday of Advent is only twenty-two days away.
The stores have been busy switching out merchandise on beginning days of November to the Christmas displays. Are we ready to switch our domestic church displays for Advent? Last year I gave a few suggestions on where to find lovely Advent candles. The Advent wreath is not required, but it’s a lovely tradition to use in the home for a reminder of the liturgical season and that doomsday prepping we all need to keep in mind. Do you know where your wreath and Advent candles are?
May this month of November and transition into Advent bring us back to our focus of using our time on earth well, prepping for our immortal life and remembering in charity our brothers and sisters in Christ.
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Posted by: Ave Maria -
Nov. 04, 2016 9:59 PM ET USA
Great article & reminder especially that Advent is also a about when Our Lord will come again! Secular society is so consumed with the how & when of the end times but seemingly never connect any of it at all to His Second Coming. The concern is only for the physical & not at all for the spiritual &/or eternal life of our souls. I'm glad our Church always reminds us of it, Advent or not! We are truly blessed....