Yesterday we celebrated the feast of All Saints – of those who have already merited to have obtained Heaven. Today we pray for all those who though assured of salvation have yet to reach the delights of Heaven. We pray in particular for those whom we have loved and lost and to those whose names are written upon our hearts. This feast also serves to remind us of the reality of our lives – and of the reality of death. It is an opportunity to turn again to the Lord and dedicate ourselves to his service anew.
Naturally on this day our thoughts and prayers turn especially to our friends, relatives and benefactors who have died. By our ties to them we have a duty to pray for them, as we have a duty as Christians to pray for all the dead. As religious we especially pray for our deceased brethren today, and for all those who have prayed with us and for us and who have supported us in our religious life.
The best way we can help the Holy Souls on their way to Heaven is to gain indulgences on their behalf (see here for a good explanation of indulgences). For those of us who have lost those whom we love it is a great comfort still to be able to manifest our love for them by doing something for them – something that will help them to achieve what is now their one desire – Heaven. In November the Church is especially generous with indulgences for the departed. They can be obtained thus:
§ 1. A plenary indulgence, applied exclusively to the souls in Purgatory, is granted to the Christian faithful who:
1° on every single day, from the first to the eighth day in November, devoutly visit a cemetery and, even if only mentally, pray for the faithful departed;
2° on the day of Commemoration of All Faithful Departed [November 2] (or, according to the Ordinary, on the preceding or subsequent Sunday, or on the day of the solemnity of All Saints) piously visit a church or oratory and there recite the Pater and the Credo.
Please do all you can to obtain these indulgences, for those we love, for those who have no-one to pray for them and for all the Holy Souls in general.
Réquiem ætérnam dona eis Dómine;
et lux perpétua lúceat eis.
Requiéscant in pace.