Prayers for the faithful departed pleases God, who makes use of our prayers to help purify these suffering souls that He loves. While the souls in purgatory can do nothing for themselves, their purification pays for whatever restitution remains for their sins against God. Our prayers and sufferings on earth, offered up for these souls, can help alleviate their sufferings and help them reach heaven more quickly. Even though they can no longer pray for themselves, these souls can and do pray for us out of gratitude!
It is an act of charity that we can do for those we have known and loved, for our ancestors who gave us life, for those who assisted us, for those whose memory is lost, and for those who have no one else to pray for them. Many of the Fathers of the Church, such as St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom, considered prayers for souls in purgatory to be essential, and the Church states: “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (CCC 1030).
The Prayer of St. Gertrude
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.
My Jesus, by the sorrows You suffered in Your agony in the Garden, in Your scourging and crowning with thorns, on the way to Calvary, in Your crucifixion and death, have mercy on the souls in Purgatory, and especially on those that are most forsaken; deliver them from the terrible torments they endure; call them and admit them to Your most sweet embrace in Paradise. Amen.
O Lord, who is ever merciful and bounteous with Your gifts, look down upon the suffering souls in purgatory. Remember not their offenses and negligences, but be mindful of Your loving mercy, which is from all eternity. Cleanse them of their sins and fulfill their ardent desires that they may be made worthy to behold You face to face in Your glory. May they soon be united with You and hear those blessed words which will call them to their heavenly home: “Come, blessed of My Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.“