This week I attended a funeral, while driving through the cemetery to the place this kind man was being laid to rest, I realized, I HAVE a serious addiction. As I drove through the winding roads, surrounded by the names of the departed - faithful or not, I could not keep myself from repeatedly reciting, "Eternal rest grant unto thee, let perpetual light shine upon them, and may they rest in peace," followed by, "Jesus, Mary, I love you, save souls."
Prayers I have been taught would benefit the souls of those who have died and are presently suffering the pains of Purgatory. The latter given from a mystic named, now Servant of God, Sr. Maria Consolata Betrone. While, I don't get myself wrapped in the logistics of indulgences and personal revelation, I do believe in "no harm no foul" for offering any type of prayer for the dead. It is a Spiritual Work of Mercy afterall. I do will admit though to absolutely love how mystic and mysterious the Catholic faith can be, while still being concretely built on tradition and scripture.
It was November, 2010, when I first heard about praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, the year before, a dear friend had passed away on All Saint's Day. In preparing for her anniversary, I pulled up the Liturgical Calendar and for the first time realized what day came AFTER All Saint's day. Curious, I did a little Google search, and discovered many novena's and prayers, including a devotion involving visiting cemeteries daily from November 1 through the 8th. Intrigued, and always one for cool field trips, I decide to not only participate but take it up a notch by attending Mass every morning during that time, and visiting 8 DIFFERENT cemeteries. Some days I brought along my entire family, and one evening my son and I went late at night with a flashlight and our rosary beads to pray.
For my visits to cemeteries be it Nov. 1 - 8, or any time of the year, I chose the prayer I found in the Pieta
Novena to the Holy Souls in Purgatory written by St. Alphonsus Liguori
To assist the souls in Purgatory is to perform the most excellent of the works of mercy, or rather it is to practice in a most sublime manner all the works of mercy together; it is to visit the sick; it is to give drink to those who thirst for the vision of God; it is to feed the hungry, to ransom prisoners, to clothe the naked, to procure for poor exiles the hospitality of the Heavenly Jerusalem; it is to comfort the afflicted, to instruct the ignorant - in fine, to practice all works of mercy in one."