Devotion to the holy souls

Through Purgatory the soul must be completely purified before it can enter heaven.

Purgatory is purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

The Church dedicates the month of November to praying for the holy souls in Purgatory. This is important since many souls in that state have no one to pray for them. In this meditation we consider:

  • Why Purgatory exists
  • The pains experienced by the holy souls, along with the love and joy they experience
  • That Purgatory is a manifestation of God’s holiness, justice and mercy
  • Accounts of souls in Purgatory who have communicated with people on earth
  • How from the earliest days the Church has prayed for the faithful departed
  • The benefits for the holy souls and for ourselves of devotion to the souls in Purgatory

Love, sin and repentance

 

The parable of the prodigal son is mercy perosnified.

God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son, and Jesus loved us so much that he suffered and died on the cross for us. Jesus invites us to love him in return but we so often show him by our sins that we love him too little. In this meditation we consider how:

  • We cannot avoid all sins – even the saints in heaven committed them – but we can try harder to avoid sinning.
  • God expects more from us than from many others.
  • We should strive especially to avoid committing mortal sins and deliberate venial sins.
  • We should identify the occasions of our sins and strive to avoid them.
  • We should foster true contrition for our sins.
  • We should do penance to make up at least in part for our sins and to strengthen our will to resist future temptations.
  • We should strive to go regularly to the sacrament of penance, knowing that there God always pours out his mercy on us.

Hope in God

 

 

In the ups and downs of life there are many events which are not in our control, where we can only put our hope in God. In this meditation we use texts of Scripture and Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Saved by hope to put our life on a sure foundation. We consider that:

  • The foundation of our hope is God, who is always with us.
  • Our hope in God enables us to find peace and joy even amidst the uncertainties and sufferings of life.
  • The ultimate object of our hope is eternal life with God in heaven.
  • Many passages in Scripture speak to us of hope.
  • We can grow in hope through prayer in its various forms.
  • Mary, our Mother, is our hope: she brings us hope in the person of Jesus, she lives hope herself in many moments, and she intercedes powerfully for us in heaven.

 

 

 

Growing in fortitude

 

God is calling all of us to “go out and bear fruit”, to bring the truth and love of Christ into the world. In a word, to change the world for the better. But it is not easy. It is hard enough to change ourselves. For this reason we need the virtue of fortitude, which strengthens the will. In this meditation we consider:

  • Our mission to go out and bear fruit
  • The need for fortitude, for will power to achieve our goals
  • Some of the important goals we will find difficult to achieve
  • The obstacles we will encounter: the world, the flesh and the devil
  • How we can grow in this virtue

 

Faith in the Church

St Peter’s Basilica

 

The Church has been under fierce attack in recent months with news of widespread sexual abuse by clergy and cover ups by the hierarchy, leading many people to become discouraged and critical of the Church. In this meditation we look at the situation with eyes of faith, considering how:

  • In the history of the Church there have been many crises, some of them much worse than the present one.
  • The Church has always been made up of sinners.
  • The Church, as the Mystical Body of Christ, goes beyond the faithful on earth who make her up at any one time.
  • The Church is founded on rock and will last until the end of time.
  • The British historian Thomas Macaulay and St Josemaria Escriva examine the history of the Church and see an institution which has predated all other institutions on earth and will outlast them all.
  • Pope Francis has called on all the faithful to pray very much and do penance for the Church.

The mission of the laity in the world

The lay members of Christ’s Faithful People (Christifideles Laici), whose “Vocation and Mission in the Church and in the World Twenty Years after the Second Vatican Council” was the topic of the 1987 Synod of Bishops, are those who form that part of the People of God which might be likened to the labourers in the vineyard mentioned in Matthew’s Gospel.

They used to joke that the role of the laity was “to pray, pay and obey”! In this meditation we use the words of Our Lord in the Last Supper, the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium and St John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Christifideles laici to consider the great mission of the lay faithful:

  • The laity have a true vocation, a calling from God to engage in the affairs of the world and order them according to the will of God.
  • The Letter of Diognetus from the early Church describes how Christians are the soul of the world.
  • In order to be effective in their mission, the lay faithful should have a truly lay mentality consisting of seven aspects, including interest in the affairs of the world, a deep interior life, a solid doctrinal formation, an effort to be involved in secular activities and respect for the opinions of others in temporal matters.

Contemplatives in the middle of the world

Mary and Jesus praying

A contemplative person is more patient, peaceful, kind and cheerful. Picture shows the young Jesus praying beside her mother.

 

 

St Josemaria taught that all Christians can be contemplatives in the middle of the world: that they can find God and be aware of his presence in every activity. This is within the reach of all but it requires effort on our part. In this meditation we will consider how:

  • Jesus promised the apostles, and us, that he would be with us always, until the end of the world.
  • God is with us in many different ways.
  • Like St Augustine, we often have to say that God was with us but we were not with him.
  • In order to grow in contemplative life it is important to live well our regular times of prayer and space them out throughout the day.
  • We can intersperse our regular times of prayer with aspirations.
  • A contemplative person is more patient, peaceful, kind and cheerful.