The following link offers a good explanation of indulgences and the need for indulgences to remove the temporal punishments we acquire as a result of our sins.
(Just as a side note: I’ve been using the example of a boy who breaks a window playing baseball to explain the concept of temporal punishments and our obligation to justice for years now. How cool is it that, when I read this article, I found that the author uses the exact same example!)
I came across a pamphlet that recommends to Catholics “The Four Daily Plenary Indulgences” that can be obtained for the purpose of remitting the temporal punishments of those holy souls in Purgatory. I’ve never been very attentive to the practice of indulgences, mostly because of lack of attention. But, it seems to me that if we are to take our faith seriously and our membership in the Communion of Saints seriously, we ought to think seriously about what we can do for the sake of those in Purgatory. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ, after all. If we have a duty to serve those saints in need here on Earth, and if we presume to benefit from the prayers of those saints in Heaven, we ought to consider doing what we can for those saints in Purgatory. Is there any among us who have not lost a loved one? Are we completely convinced that their personal sanctity at the time of death was sufficient for them to be received immediately among the saints in Heaven? Should we consider that they are among the faithful being purified by the Lord’s cleansing fire? If so, then the duty of fraternal love calls us to do what we can for the sake of their more quickly entering into the joy of full communion with the Lord and the Church Triumphant. It really doesn’t require much of us, and it’s the right thing to do.
So, here are four actions we can take for the purpose of gaining either a plenary or partial indulgence for the holy souls in Purgatory:
- Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for at least half an hour.
- The pious exercise of the Way of the Cross.
- The recitation of the rosary.
- The devout reading or listening to the Sacred Scriptures for at least half an hour.
The following are the conditions for receiving an indulgence:
- Perform the indulgenced act, with the intention of receiving the indulgence, while free from attachment to sin.
- Go to Confession.
- Receive Holy Communion.
- Pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.
The monthly intentions of the Holy Father can be found on the following website:
Some of us are probably doing some of these already without realizing that our devotions could be intentionally done to relieve the sufferings of those in Purgatory. In that case, it’s just a matter of being conscious of doing so for their intention. None of these are difficult or particularly time-consuming. Let’s do this!
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.