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Praying with the Saints

The Catholic Company provided me with a copy of Praying with the Saints for the Holy Souls in Purgatory by Susan Tassone in exchange for this review. If you want to send me anything half-decent I would probably post about that too. Unless it was by a hyper-conservative, in which case I would probably just rant about it. But the rant would include a few links back to you, and you’d get more click-throughs, so I guess you should send me all sorts of things that I will hate. Or not. In any case, the Catholic Company sent this book to me with the little catch that I post about it, and I am now willing to send it to you with no catch other than that you give me your mailing address so I can stalk you.

November is the month of the Holy Souls. We start off on November 1st by thanking God for all the Saints that have gone before us and are now interceding for us in heaven, and then on the 2nd is the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed (the Feast of All Souls). This is the one day each year that we not only pray to those remembered, we actually get to pray for them as well. And then, we are to continue to pray for in particular for the rest of the month.

I love All Saints and All Souls, but somehow I never seem to pray enough for the dead. And this is a big problem because the Church teaches that praying for the dead is a spiritual work of mercy.

This is where Tassone and Praying with the Saints for the Holy Souls in Purgatory comes in to save the day. The book is only 116 pages plus the appendix and is extremely easy to read, but it takes only a few pages to light a fire of urgency regarding our duty to the Holy Souls in purgatory. It was enough to get me to pause reading occasionally in order to pray for those in purgatory RIGHT NOW.

Tassone includes many quotes from scripture, the writings of the Saints, and the Magisterium. The short quotes not only provide easy bits of wisdom, they also serve to provide many different perspectives. Tassone’s style is in some ways the opposite of my own. But she has clearly devoted much time to reading what the Church as a whole says about this topic and condensing the most important information into “sound bites” short enough for even a Twitter-style mind to handle. If you like stories, passion, and books that read like a series of blog-posts, then this may be the book of your dreams (assuming, of course, that you dream about things like how to pray more!).

The one thing that bothered me about the book was that it felt as if Tassone may have been so concerned with getting people to pray for the Holy Souls that she focused too much on fear, fire, and quid pro quo. I have no objection to such things being included in the book since they are all a legitimate part of Catholic Tradition. And yet I wish that people would be more motivated to pray for the Holy Souls because they love Christ and want his work completed to perfection promptly than because they are concerned about the torment which they themselves will face in purgatory some day.

What I liked best about the book was actually the appendix with the novena prayers for the Holy Souls. Tassone did a great job of not only making one feel the need to pray immediately, but also providing great resources.

If you would like a copy of the book please comment indicating your interest and willingness to at least skim part of the book during the month of November. I will mail it out to the winner on November 1st. I asked Josh to choose a number (without seeing the comments) and he chose #5. I skipped over Tara Meghan’s since I didn’t think she wanted to be included, so that made Elizabeth the winner! Thanks very much to everyone who commented. I plan to give away every book I review on this blog, so do check back later.

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