Happy Feast of All Saint's Day! What a wonderful way to begin the month of November, a month for giving thanks for all of our friends in Heaven and for all of our friends suffering in Purgatory. Ok, that sounds like we're giving thanks because they are suffering. You know what I mean. Right? We're giving thanks because we know they are on their way to Heaven! Ok, good.
This month, I'd like to present a challenge to you...
I came across this while reading a Facebook post from Fr. Richard Heilman. My husband then told me that he also has this all laid out in his book, "Church Militant: Field Manual". What Fr Heilman proposes is that we were never meant to fight the good fight here on earth by ourselves. He believes, and I have to agree, that God gave us the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering to help us along the way. By praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory and enlisting the aid of the Saints, we can build up our own personal army of friends that are there to pray for us and to help us during our time on earth. He puts it more eloquently, but that is the gist of it.
For the month of November, then, what you are to do is to pick a family member or friend who has died and match them up with a Saint for each day. So today, for example, I'm praying for my a family friend and have enlisted the aid of St. Andrew. The goal is to gain a Plenary Indulgence each day of the month for the soul you are praying for. If that is accomplished, then you ask the soul and the corresponding Saint to come to your aid and "be on your team" so to speak.
In order to gain that indulgence, you need to:
1. Be in a state of grace
2. Have gone to confession within 20 days (either before or after)
3. Be detached from all sin, even venial sin.
4. Receive Holy Communion on that day
5. Pray for the Pope's intentions (say an Our Father or Hail Mary, for his intentions)
Then, for each day I want to gain the indulgence, I must complete one of four works:
1. Pray the rosary in a family or group setting
2. Pray the Stations in a church or approved place
3. Devoutly read Sacred Scripture for 30 minutes
4. Attend Adoration for 30 minutes.
You might not accomplish it every day, and if you can't get to Mass, let's say, you can ask for a partial indulgence for that person. You can also do this for the same soul more than once. I was kind of stuck on the "be detached from all sin" stipulation because, really, how do you know if you are truly detached? I've since found this clarification from the site Spiritualdirection.com and hope it helps in case you have the same question:
"Notably, however, the requirement is not freedom from all sin. Rather, it is freedom from attachment to sin; that is, that there is no sin which the soul is unwilling to renounce. A person should be able to tell if he is fulfilling this condition. An attachment involves a refusal to amend a situation, and a person should be able to tell if he has such an attachment."
Last night I printed our a blank calendar page and started plugging in names of deceased friends and family. Next I put down the name of a Saint that I wanted to have pray with me and off we go. I'm trying to do this with the whole family, but not everyone can get to Mass everyday, but at least that soul will get a good mix of plenary and partial indulgences. Think of the army of friends that you and your family can have behind you if you do this! Seems to me that that will be helpful to us in this time we are living in. I hope you'll join us in this endeavor.