As the Catholic Faithful celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day on November 1st and 2nd, respectively, one of the greatest gifts from God, through the Catholic Faith, is mostly forgotten.
It is not forgotten because the faithful is derelict in its Christian responsibilities; it is forgotten because, in many cases, no one ever took the time to teach them of the Ecclesiastical Treasures contained within the Indulgences
In The Enchiridion of Indulgences issued by the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary in 1968 (1) we read on page 52, Grant No. 13 that:
An indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed. The indulgence is plenary each day from the 1st to the 8th of November; on other days of the year it is partial.
What is an Indulgence?
According to the same source:
An indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned.
An indulgence is partial or plenary, according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due for sin.
Partial as well as plenary indulgences can always be applied to the departed by way of suffrage (In this case, as described in Grant No. 13, above). [Norm No. 4 of Apostolic Constitution. The Doctrine of Indulgences, p. 108]
Who may secure it?
According to the same source:
To be capable of gaining an indulgence the fundamental concern is for the individual to attach greater importance to a Christian way of life and to lead souls to cultivate the spirit of prayer and penance and to practice the theological virtues, rather than merely to repeat certain formulas and acts.
Once that condition is fulfilled by the manner we lead our lives, then:To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached (In this case, as described in Grant No. 13, above) and, in addition, to fulfill the following three conditions: (a) Sacramental Confession; (b) Eucharistic Communion; and (c) Prayer for the intentions of the true Shepherds of the People of God. (2)
A single Sacramental Confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences; but Communion must be received, and prayer for the intentions of the true Shepherds of the People of God (2) , for the gaining of each plenary indulgence.
To gain an indulgence attached to a prayer, it is sufficient to recite the prayer alternately with a companion or to follow it mentally while it is being recited by another.
If you were in prison, would not you rejoice if someone came and posted bail for you and set you free?
The souls in Purgatory would welcome such "bail posting" far more than we could possibly imagine since they cannot earn any merits for themselves anymore.
They can, and do intercede in our behalf before God securing for us many Graces.
Let us give them a hand! It is the Christian thing to do! It is the Merciful thing to do!
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