FAMILY AFFAIRS have regrettably kept me away from the blog for several weeks for which I apologise to my loyal readers — if you’re still out there!
Which means that October has gone past without any mention of the Rosary, a subject on which I had a few thoughts, and here we are in the second half of November without a word about the Holy Souls.
Let me put both of those omissions right today.
I think everyone has his/her own way of praying the Rosary and what or who they pray for. In his Meditation for November 2, Francis Fernandez suggests that dedicating our November rosaries to praying for the souls in Purgatory is probably the biggest service we can do them. Helpless in their own cause they depend on us, their families and friends, to intercede on their behalf.
How we do it is a personal matter. My own approach is to use the first three decades to pray for family and friends. In the fourth I pray for all those souls who would otherwise be neglected because they have no friends or family on earth who are able or who would understand the need for such prayers.
Not that they are completely neglected, of course. I think it is safe to say that our prayer “May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.” is “shared around” but if we all devote one decade during this month to reminding God and Our Lady that there are some people who are not as well-loved and thought of as our own family and friends this will, I am sure, have a powerful effect.
Though the souls in Purgatory can do nothing to help themselves, the Church teaches that they can pray for us as, of course, can the saints in Heaven, We are all members of the Mystical Body of Christ and should all be concerned for the welfare of those who have not yet attained eternal bliss. So it makes sense for us to pray to God asking that he will listen to the prayers of those still in Purgatory who can pray for us.
One last thought on intentions. Like many others, I imagine, I find that it is all to easy to let the mind start to wander about half way through the fourth mystery. The Rosary is by nature repetitive which can dull the senses if we aren’t careful. One way I have found to overcome this is not to pray for parents or children as a group but to say one Hail Mary with a particular individual in mind.
So while the intention for the decade may be to pray for family, make one Hail Mary for a son, one for a sister (and perhaps her husband as well), one for an aunt, and so on. I find it concentrates the mind!