There is scarcely one of us, dear brethren, who has not been familiar from childhood with the article of the Apostles Creed, "I believe in the communion of saints"; and there are few, if any, who have not derived consolation from this dogma of our faith, teaching, as it does, that we are not entirely cut off from those who have gone before us, but form with them one great family, of which the head is Christ and the members the souls of the just, whether in heaven or in purgatory, or still in the flesh.
But if this truth of holy religion brings consolation, it brings also the duty of praying for our brethren who are passing through the cleansing fires of purgatory; who, because of sin or the debt due for sin, cannot enter their eternal home until they have repaid the last farthing. They can do nothing for themselves their day of meriting is past; they look to us who are their friends to help them.
While they were with us they were very dear to us bound to us by ties of blood or friendship. Let us do our duty to them now; let us, by our good works in their behalf, show how much we love them; let us show that our affection for them was not selfish nor pretended, but so real and strong and lasting that death has but strengthened it and brought it to its fulness.
What one of us but has his daily task his allotted work? Yet as each day brings its own burdens, so each day is full of opportunities of gaining indulgence for the souls in purgatory. The many inconveniences we all of us are called upon to suffer, the many sacrifices of comfort and of pleasure we make, the disappointments we meet with, the fatigues we bear all these may be made sources of refreshment to our friends beyond the grave. If in the morning we would but offer to God all we shall do and suffer during the day for his honor and glory, and for the relief of the departed, oh ! how soon would the angels welcome them to their true country, and how many advocates we should have before the throne of God!
But if so much can be done without any particular effort on our part, what shall we say of the efficacy of the special prayers we recite for them and the Masses we have offered for their repose ! How shall we tell of their gratitude, of their unceasing supplications for us! We lose nothing, dear brethren, by praying for them; be assured we are rather the gainers, for not only do they pray for us, but more our charity towards them deepens in our souls our love for God, and makes us thirst the more after virtue and holiness, and wins for us a higher place in heaven and a brighter crown of everlasting glory.
Let us be generous, then; let us storm heaven with our prayers for the souls in purgatory, and we shall find rest for ourselves as well as for them.
Source: The Beauty and Truth of the Catholic Faith, Imprimatur 1913