Pastor’s letter, November 13, 2016: What We Pray
Since the very beginning of Christianity there has been a principle that has driven the Catholic Faith. This principle comes in the form of a Latin phrase “Lex Credendi, Lex Orandi” Loosely translated, it means: “what we pray leads to belief” or, “Liturgy leads to Theology.” There is not a disconnect between our Liturgical worship and our faith.
The Church’s liturgical year with its seasons and feasts is a teaching leading us deeper into faith and spirituality. This is why the Catholic Church has always been a liturgical church. The liturgy teaches and explains the faith. The liturgy should always be celebrated in such a way that directs attention to extract the truth and mystery it contains.
Two feasts that we celebrated earlier this month in particular, demonstrate this “Lex Credendi, Lex Orandi”. They are the feasts of All Saints and All Souls. They are kind of two sides of the same coin. All Saints celebrates that multitude of souls that have attained heaven, the vision of God. All Souls day is the day we remember and pray for the dead, the faithful departed. All Souls day is focused on those souls who are still journeying to God and heaven through a process of purification in the state we call Purgatory.
Purgatory is necessary in order to purify the soul of all sin and imperfection before it enters the presence of God. Jesus says only the “pure of heart” will see God. Purgatory is a function of God’s mercy and the soul’s desire to be purified and cleansed. The souls in purgatory are no longer in a position to help themselves but benefit greatly from the prayers of those on earth. It is an act of charity to pray for the souls in purgatory.
Essentially, purgatory is a school of love. What wasn’t learned on earth has to be learned before entering the place of perfect love. All selfishness has to be removed. It is believed that most souls need cleansing before they are admitted to God’s presence. Let us not neglect to remember the souls of our family, friends and all souls as they journey to God in purgatory.