“Father, I don’t want you to think I’m crazy, but I saw my grandmother after she died. She came to visit me. She told me that I shouldn’t worry and things would be fine. I’m not crazy, am I?”
What’s crazy to me is that people are surprised by this. Our Catholic faith tells us that human beings are made of both body and soul. We can see the body but not the soul. Our body and our soul become separated when we die. The body is washed, dressed, laid out for a funeral, and reverently buried to await the Resurrection. But where is the soul? Those who loved the Lord God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength go straight to God and begin to enjoy the happiness of Heaven. The souls that said ‘yes’ to God in a half-hearted way, who loved God but not fully, go through a Purgatory to purify them for Heaven. And the souls that said ‘no’ to God whole-heartedly, who rejected God’s love and that was their ‘final answer’, begin to experience the pains of Hell.
Particularly the souls in purgatory like to communicate with us. They are torn between going to God and staying with us. Sometimes they will move things, send smells over, or appear in dreams or visit at night. In many cases they are asking for prayers.
As the leaves fall, we remember our fallen. On November 1 the Church celebrates all those who have made it to Heaven and are cheering for us. This is the feast of All Saints. On November 2 the Church prays for all the poor souls not yet home; we cheer for them. For the first 8 days of November, you can give a plenary indulgence to the dead by making a visit to a cemetery and offering prayers for the dead (under the usual conditions of Confession, Communion, and prayers for the Holy Father). How wonderful it is that we are all on this journey together; even the dead don’t walk alone.