Friday, December 22, 2006
Holy Souls Novena: Day Seven

Our Lady, Mother Mary, has said that more souls are released from Purgatory on Christmas than any other day in the year.

This novena was written by Daniel Lord, S.J.

Day 7

What food is to a starving man.... What drink is to the parched sailor riding the tropic seas on a raft.... What light is to the man long blind.... What restored health is to the patient invalid.... What freedom is to the prisoner.... All this and far, far more is release from purgatory to a holy soul. And when food... light... health... freedom come suddenly, unexpectedly, the human heart leaps and bounds, and the soul knows the sharp ecstacy of joy.

So it is with each prayer that we say for the beseeching souls in purgatory. Our prayer is bread and water and light and health; it is a reprieve and a release and freedom and a homecoming. It is the cutting of bonds, the lessening of weary waiting, the termination of exile, the sudden glorious lift that picks them up and seems almost to shoot them toward the center of their joy, God Himself.

For us that prayer is an almost careless gesture. For us a routine act of charity... Prayer, an alms, a bit of fasting, a good deed done... forgotten in the doing. For them something beyond price and measure, something for which they can repay us only in the immortal coin of eternity.

Such a good deed we perform as we pray:

The Prayer for the Holy Souls

O God, the Creater and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of thy servants and handmaids departed, the remission of all their sins; that through pious supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

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