Praying For All The Faithful Departed
November is the month dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory. These souls suffer because even though they know they will eventually be in God's presence for eternity, they are not there yet. We as the Church Militant can do much to shorten their time in this place of purgation. We can offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for them, and we can remember them, especially those of our family and friends, in our daily prayers.
St Therese of Liseux believed that with enough love and trust in God, Purgatory could be avoided. She believed to see Purgatory as the norm for souls rather than the exception was a grave error on our parts.
Her teaching on this is not dogma; we are not obliged to believe it. However, this great saint is a Doctor of the Church, and there is much truth in what she says. You can read what the Little Flower has to say about avoiding Purgatory here.
All that being said, I am still grateful that God gives us this last chance, so to speak, to become totally clean and purified so that we may enter His Kingdom to love and praise Him forever.
Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says on the teaching of Purgatory:
1031. "The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. [Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563): DS 1820; (1547): 1580; see also Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000.] The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire. [Cf. 1 Cor 3:15; 1 Pet 1:7.] As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come. [St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4, 39: PL 77, 396; cf. Mt 12:32-36.]"
1472. "To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the 'eternal punishment' of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the 'temporal punishment' of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain. [Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1712-1713; (1563): 1820.]"
On this Feast of All Souls, let us remember all those who died in Christ, but are still in need of final purification.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord and may Your eternal light shine upon them. May they rest in Your peace.