I have noticed that the advice which our parents give us when we are children influence us more than the recommendations given to us when we are adults.
When I was growing up I had a terrible temper.
I was often grouchy when I was not given everything I wanted.
My level of pain tolerance was very minimal.
I was a very sensitive, thoughtless, and self-loving brat.
Over time, I conquered some of these detestable habits; thanks to God, and also in part to my mother.
Every time that I complained, she used to tell me, “Offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory.”
Her words did not have an immediate effect, but her persistence did.
When someone tells us something enough times, it eventually makes us start to think about it, or at least, what they have said becomes wedged in our subconscious.
At first, I was annoyed by her constantly telling me this, but now I have grown to appreciate her words and be quite grateful for the continual reproofs which she gave me.
Due to her blessed nagging, I actually found myself saying, “Offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory”, whenever I started complaining.
Her influence concerning the poor souls in purgatory did not stop there.
This saying of hers perked my curiosity and inspired me to read a couple of very good books about the poor souls, their sufferings and how they help those who pray for them.
I was deeply affected by what I read, and it significantly changed my life.
I not only found myself offering up my trials for the poor souls out of habit, but I now think of them as distant friends.
I pray for them and for the easement of their pains, and they, in return, help me through tough times.
I always say a prayer for them in the morning when I arise, and they make sure that I am always awake when I need to be!
This does not mean that I never use an alarm clock. However, every time that my alarm has failed, they have woken me up exactly at the time that I needed to arise in order to take care of something or to start my day.
At first, I thought that it was just a coincidence. Nevertheless, I learned more about the Faith and came to realize that there is no such thing as a coincidence, but everything is based upon the Divine Providence of Almighty God.
Besides waking me up in the morning, there have been many instances in which the poor souls have come to my assistance.
In gratitude for their help and in sympathy for their tormented lives, I always say a prayer for the souls in purgatory, when I pass a graveyard.
It is also worthwhile to note the other benefits of praying for the church-suffering.
The Church has proclaimed many indulgences which are attached to praying for the poor souls. By praying for them, we gain merit for when we are in purgatory. In addition to this, all the souls, who are released from purgatory by our prayers, will continually pray for us and watch over us until we are with them in heaven.
Most people only pray for the poor souls in November; yet, we should make it our goal to do so more often. Let us aim to pray for the poor souls in purgatory every day of our lives, and offer all of our trials for them. In gratitude for our sacrifices and benevolence, they will offer their sufferings and prayers for our salvation and for the greater honor and glory of God.