Soon as Mary breathed her last, her soul was received by the choirs of angels, and conducted in triumph to meet the Lord. Who could understand, says St. Bernard, how brilliant and how glorious the Queen of the world arose in heaven; how eagerly and with what ardor the multitude of Celestial Orders came to meet her; with what song they celebrated her elevation to the throne of her glory; with what sweetness, with what marks of goodness and love she was received by her Son, and raised by Him above every created intellect!
Certainly blessed those sweet kisses that this Virgin-Mother gave her Divine Child, when carrying Him in her arms; she received from Him the first tangible proof of His love; but how much blessed was this august Mother when entering the room of glory, she received the testimonies of affection of her divine Son, seated at the right hand of the Father; not only the pledges of filial affection, but even the reward of her virtues? Let us follow with our eyes the Assumption of our Blessed Mother, and let us accompany her triumph with feelings of the most perfect confidence.
Distant from her divine Son, the one and only object of her love, Mary was just languishing in expectation of the day in which she will meet Him again. The will of God kept her on earth, she resigned herself to it, but all her desires transport her to heaven. «Daughters of Jerusalem, she cried often, tell my beloved that I languish with love...» Finally, Jesus fulfills the yearnings of his most holy Mother: again descended over her the Spirit of love that once had fecundated her; He broke the bonds that held her soul captive since long ago, He carried her to the bosom of Him whom she had always loved so perfectly.
Mary wanted to die, to go entirely according to her divine Son. Mary wanted to die to ease the passage to her servants; like a tender mother, that is the first placing her lips into a bitter potion, so that her child received it with less reluctance. Do you want to soften the bitterness of those last moments? So, honor, love, serve this Mother of goodness, she will not leave you alone at your last hour.
What holy assembly that one where the Mother of God presided it! What union between all the very fortunate children of the Early Church! How many ardent prayers rose up from the Cenacle to heaven, to bring down the Holy Spirit! Since the Ascension of their Divine Master, all the disciples, in the words of St. Luke, formed but one heart: they continued steadfastly in prayer with Mary, Mother of Jesus. Finally heaven was opened and a strong wind announced the arrival of this God who came to renew the face of the earth. God descended in tongues of fire over each disciple that were gathered together; he kindled in them the flames of divine love, and changes them into other men; they were like drunk with the wine of this holy love; their hearts were like furnaces, and their words were words of fire.
Who can conceive the torrent of graces with which was flooded that day Mary, the very wife of the Holy Spirit! Who will tell us her joy when she saw the author of these gifts pouring Himself so clearly and, in such abundance, over the Apostles! Mary became Queen and special Protectress of the Apostles, after the departure of her Son to heaven! So the glory of Mary and her sweetest joy it was the sight of the love of God reigning in the soul of the Apostles, and soon after, bursting into so admirable works, in so heroic virtues. Following the example of our august Mother, let us go into solitude, it is there that we will acquire, in this life, the sweet learning of this divine love, which will be our occupation and our happiness throughout eternity.
image of souls being purified by flames in purgatory
Throughout November the Church remembers our Faithful Departed. The need and duty of prayer for the departed souls has been acknowledged by the Church at all times. It is recommended in the Scriptures of the Old Testament: "It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins." (2 Macch. 12, 46). This duty has found expression not only in public and private prayers but especially in the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the repose of souls.
Throughout November the Church prays for all who are in the purifying fires of Purgatory, waiting for the day when they will join the company of the saints in heaven. The celebration of Mass is the highest means the Church can provide for charity for the dead, but we can also relieve their sufferings through our prayers, sufferings and penances. We can also help the Poor Souls by doing acts and prayers that have indulgences attached to them. There are many indulgences, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, that can be obtained during the month of November.
An indulgence is "the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned." To obtain this remission there are proper dispositions and certain conditions predetermined by the Church that must be met by the faithful. The remission is acquired through the intervention of the Church, who has the power to loose and bind granted through Jesus Christ. "As minister of the Redemption, authoritatively dispenses and applies the treasury of the satisfaction won by Christ and the Saints" (Enchiridion of Indulgences).