"As we enter heaven we will see them, so many of them coming towards us and thanking us. We will ask who they are, and they will say a poor soul you prayed for in purgatory.” -Venerable Fulton Sheen
The following is from Fr. Richard Heilman
Strong & United
I just returned from the National Rosary Rally in Washington, DC. This was the anchor for Rosary Coast to Coast where tens of thousands of souls (who gathered in groups) from around the nation united on Sunday, October 9 to pray the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary at precisely 3:00 pm CST. We had many amazing speakers in Washington, DC, including Bishop Joseph Coffey of the Archdiocese of the Military. Bishop Coffey led the nation in praying the rosary.
As we listened to these very inspiring talks, a general theme began to emerge. We have become weakened and divided, especially over the past 2.5 years. The enemies of God are recognizing this weakness and division, and so they are emboldened to intensify their attacks against us. The time is now for us to become “Strong & United.”
The United States Grace Force motto is “Per Virtutem Pax,” which translates to “Peace through Strength.” It is inspired by the quote from Ronald Reagan who said, “We maintain the peace through our strength. Weakness only invites aggression.” We have worked very hard to become spiritually STRONG and UNITED in our prayer. We do our best to be a “force to be reckoned with.”
While we have worked hard to be united with living souls here on earth, we believe the time is now to venture forward in unity with the Communion of Saints. We are not meant to advance unaided. In His great wisdom, God has set up a Holy Alliance that, once united, is designed to defeat any and all forces of darkness in the heavenly realm, rescue souls, and build up the kingdom of God.
This alliance is called the Communion of Saints and is comprised of the Church Militant (those alive on earth), the Church Penitent (those undergoing purification in purgatory in preparation for heaven), and the Church Triumphant (those already in heaven). It is the exchange of the Sancta Sanctis! (“God’s holy gifts for God’s holy people!”). Those on earth (Church Militants) invoke the saints in heaven and pray for the souls in purgatory (we can gain indulgences for them). When called upon, those in heaven pray for the Church Militant and the Church Penitent; they obtain graces for us on earth and alleviation of suffering for the poor souls in purgatory. Those in purgatory can, when called upon, invoke the saints on high and pray for us struggling with the world, the flesh, and the evil spirit. Do you see? A “gift exchange.”
Heavenly Christmas Novena – November 1 to December 24
This speaks to why this is called the “Heavenly Christmas Novena.” Think about this … we have the longstanding tradition of exchanging gifts at Christmas with our loved ones. This is yet another simple and beautiful way of expressing our love for each other. In a special way, we grow our bond of love with each other through this simple gift exchange.
Now, think about this. We all love those who have passed before us, right? Don’t we hope that they reach their heavenly reward and that we all spend eternity with each other? Yet, probably most of us will spend some time in purgatory being purified for our eventual reward in heaven. This is why some refer to the souls in purgatory as “suffering souls.” While they will eventually be in heaven, they suffer as they look off to heaven, wishing they were there now.
Did you know you have been given the capacity to give these loved ones in purgatory the key that unlocks the gate of heaven for them? You have. It’s called a “plenary indulgence.” What better Christmas gift could you give to a soul in purgatory than the “Gift of Heaven”?!?!
This is why we call this the “Heavenly Christmas Novena.” For 54 days, beginning on the Feast of All Saints (November 1) and going until Christmas Eve (December 24), we will spend each day giving the “Gift of Heaven,” as we call upon the saints to pray with us for these holy souls in purgatory, gaining for each a “plenary indulgence.” Moreover, as we call upon each saint, praying for a holy soul in purgatory, we will be offering this “act of love” that will ignite our relationship with them, spurring us on to a special bond of mutual care (gift exchange) for each other. They will become, as I like to call it, our own personal “Holy Alliance.”
Let me explain …
Our Personal Holy Alliance
How many of us had grandparents who had their stack of holy cards in their prayer book? These favorite saints were their friends, their prayer warriors! How many of our ancestors knew to pray for the holy souls in purgatory, especially the souls of family and friends? The holy souls would then, in deep gratitude (see Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s quote above), return many prayers for those who cared to pray for them. This is why our ancestors never faced evil alone or prayed for anything or anybody alone — they had their comrades in the heavenly realm, their Holy Alliance of saints and holy souls, with them at all times. The devil never stood a chance against this united force!
What’s stopping us from building upon the great example of our ancestors who called upon the saints to pray with them for the poor souls in purgatory? If they invoked (recruited) their handful of favorite saints and holy souls, what’s stopping us from building an enormous personal Holy Alliance?
This means that on day one that you begin this practice of praying with a saint for a holy soul in purgatory, you grow from a force of one (just you) to a force of three (you, the saint you chose, and the holy soul in purgatory you prayed for). On day two, you will add another saint and holy soul to your personal Holy Alliance, and grow to a force of five. And so on. These holy souls in purgatory and saints in heaven become a part of your personal Holy Alliance because you have lovingly “engaged and ignited the relationship.” We can’t just assume the saints and holy souls are aligned with us. God has revealed a way for us to reach out in love and, therefore, the “love relationship of mutual care begins.”
Strength & Alliance Field Journal
In preparation for this next level of spiritual training and prayer, I poured myself into preparing a very special tool to assist us during this 54-Day Heavenly Christmas Novena (Nov. 1 – Dec. 24). Yes, evil senses that we have weakened and become divided. We need to become STRONG in the Lord and in His mighty power (Eph. 6:10) and we need to UNITE (Allied) with the Communion of Saints. That is why I felt compelled to produce the “Strength & Alliance Field Journal”.
The Strength and Alliance Field Journal teaches us how to become skilled warriors of the Church Militant. It is divided into 3 sections:
The first section is a Search and Rescue section that teaches you how to build your own personal Holy Alliance with the saints and souls in purgatory. All your questions about indulgences are answered here.
The second section gives you space to write prayer requests for you and your Holy Alliance and teaches you to pray with St. Padre Pio Power.
The third section is the Church Militant Boot Camp which outlines how to train your body, mind, and soul for battle in easy, doable steps. No more weakness for us!!
You can order your Strength & Alliance Field Journal at RomanCatholicGear.com
The Heavenly Christmas Novena begins November 1. Hurry and order your S&A Field Journal in time!!
Let’s get strong & united!! And, for Christmas this year, let’s give the best Christmas present ever to our loved ones who have gone before us …
“GIVE ‘EM HEAVEN!”
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