November is All about Souls month!
November is officially dedicated to the Faithful Departed. This month then is dedicated to praying and doing works for those who have died, that they may spend less time in Purgatory. Now, I am posting this kinda late, but here is a remarkable way in which to help the poor souls.
An idulgence, 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 8th of November; on other days of the year it is partial.
Now, I guess I should explain what exactly an indulgence is.......
"An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints" (Indulgentarium Doctrina norm 1)."An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin" (ibid. norm 2, norm 3).What that means is that an indulgence will remove either partially or completely your temporal punishment from sin. So what is temporal punishment? Temporal punishment is the punishment acquired even though our sins may have been forgiven in whole. It is like if you broke your neighbor's window when you were a kid playing baseball. Even though you would tell them your sorry, and they forgive you, you will still have to pay for the broken window. Temporal punishment is that. Namely, we still have punishment- not that it will send us to Hell-but that it must be paid for because of the very fact we have sinned. It's called making reparation for your sin.So, how do I gain an indulgence? There are certain requirements that must be followed in order to gain an indulgence.1. First of all you must be in a state of sanctifying grace. That is, you have no mortal sin on your soul.2. You must be Catholic3. You must have the intention of gaining the particular indulgence.For partial indulgences:You have to carry out the action with a contrite heart.For Plenary indulgences:Same as partial, plus you must go to confession within 8 days before or after the act is done, receive Holy Communion, pray for the pope's intentions, (1 Our Father and Hail Mary are enough, but substitutions are allowed.), and you must be free from all attachment to all sin including venial sin.So, to gain the Plenary Indulgence for a soul in Purgatory you must go to confession, receive Holy Communion, Pray for the pope's intentions, be free from all attachment to all sin (no matter how small!), and visit a cemetery and pray for the souls in Purgatory! Wowsers! I hope you got all of that! Really it is not that difficult to fulfil, except for perhaps the condition that requires one to be free from all attachment to sin. I know that only God can know if we truly are, and not many of us are anywhere close.One final note: Indulgences are not a means to earn one's salvation. To receive an indulgence, one must already be a in a state of Sanctifying Grace (the grace needed for Heaven). As I said before, indulgences only remove temporal punishment-not eternal punishment. Also, indulgences can not be bought over e-bay, or sent in the mail. They are something that God bestows on us through His Holy Catholic Church. The Pope cannot just wave his hand and put an indulgence on you. They are not magic. It is only a gift from God, to help us grow closer to Him, and it is a sign of His infinite Mercy!