Reward With Eternal Life, O Lord!

Sister Mary Daniel prays in our community cemetery for our deceased sisters.

Today's feast of the Holy Souls is a treasured day in the liturgical year as we remember all those who have gone before us into Eternal Life. Unfortunately, today, the doctrine of Purgatory is misunderstood and many a funeral mass has quasi-overtones of a canonization as though acknowledging that Uncle Joe or Grandma or your best friend of 40 years may not be quite ready to be at home before the Face of God is being uncharitable toward them.

In fact, the opposite is true! To acknowledge that those who have died most likely need a time of final purification and are in need of our prayers to more quickly come to the joys of being with our Father in Heaven is the greatest act of charity we can perform for anyone!

Most of us would admit that we aren't perfect and I suspect that most of us can more easily list our faults than our good qualities! It only follows that those who have come before the Face of God after death are very aware of how much they fall short in the light of God's infinite Love. They WANT to be in purgatory because they know that this final purification is what makes them "fit" to be at home in Heaven. The Church tells us that the Souls in Purgatory are happy there because they know they are assured of their eternal salvation but at the same time the pain they experience is because they know they are not ready to be in God's presence!

The Souls in Purgatory can't pray for themselves which is why our prayers, acts of penance and alms giving are so important for them to speed their way to heaven. But they CAN and WANT to pray for us! It's a win-win situation and a beautiful example of the Communion of Saints.

It's often been said, "It's good to be a dead Dominican," because Dominicans have always put great emphasis on suffrages for the dead. Twice daily we pray the De Profundis for our deceased sisters, relatives, friends and benefactors. In our monastery our morning consecration which begins, O Eternal Trinity, we offer you through the hands of our Blessed Mother," offers all our prayers and works through her and specifically mentions the souls in purgatory.

The Order legislates that once a week Mass is offered for the dead; nightly they are remembered at the Intercessions at Vespers and several times a year there are specific days set aside to remember our parents, our friends and benefactors, and the deceased Brothers and Sisters of the Order. Once a week either the rosary or the 7 Penitential Psalms are recited in common for them.

Here at our monastery a basket of the names of the deceased that have been sent in by friends and benefactors is placed on our altar for the entire month of November and they are remembered at each holy Mass. If you would like the names of your beloved dead placed on our altar just go to our website: and click on the Contact page and fill out the form that is there.

O God, creator and redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of your servants and handmaids, remission of all their sins, that through loving supplications, they may obtain the favor they have always desired. For you live and reign forever and ever. Amen.