As November draws near, we lay down a Rose Challenge aimed at helping 30 souls to make the transition from Purgatory to Heaven! Before we get into the details of the challenge, I’m going to suggest some reading from the Catechsim of the Catholic Church to set it in context. This comes in two parts: Paragraphs 1030-1032 on Purgatory, and paragraphs 1471-1479 on Indulgences.
Once these things are understood, we’re ready to get into the details of the challenge! There are a few parameters here, but essentially the mission is to obtain a plenary indulgence, offered for the Holy Souls, each day in the month of November. A plenary indulgence is one which allows the soul which benefits from it to be released entirely from their suffering into Heaven. This kind of indulgence can be obtained only once per day. There are certain works by which the Church grants plenary indulgences, and certain conditions which must be met at the time of the performance of this work for them to be granted. Here is a summary of the conditions:
- Be in a state of grace (one must be Catholic, not in schism, not excommunicated or in a state of mortal sin)
- Sacramental Communion (one Communion per indulgence)
- Sacramental Confession (one Confession can suffice for several indulgences – for the duration of this challenge we suggest weekly Confession, although if one is in a state of grace this frequency may not be required for the indulgences, so it is not requisite for the roses)
- Pray for the intentions of the Pope (monthly intentions can be found here, or this may be of assistance – especially if you aren’t inspired by the given intention) – as a general rule an Our Father and Hail Mary is standard
- Have the interior disposition of detachment from all sin – even venial
- Finally, there must be the intention – at least general – to obtain the indulgence by performing the work.
So if those are the conditions, what are the works? Well, here’s the fun part: the works required to obtain an plenary indulgence are generally easier to complete than those we assign roses to. BUT for the duration of this challenge – that is for November ONLY – you can offer a Rose to Our Lady for every plenary indulgence you obtain for the Holy Souls in Purgatory! The ‘catch’, of course, is that you are going to need to make sure that you also meet the above conditions each day. In addition, we have a few rules regarding how roses are counted -these are given at the end.
Here are ideas of works for which the Church presently grants plenary indulgences:
- Visiting a cemetery – each day from 1st-8th November
- Visiting a Church or Oratory on 2nd November, and there reciting the Our Father and Creed
- Visiting a
- Reciting the Rosary with family, in Church or with a community
- Adoration for half an hour
- Meditation on Scripture for half an hour
- Making the Stations of the Cross
- Until 8th December 2021, there are many plenary indulgences available for the year of St. Joseph.
- There are further ideas here for specific events and occasions that may apply.
There are two main rules for the challenge regarding rose counting:
- The works above, if they are used for your ‘Indulgence Rose’ cannot contribute towards another one also (e.g. if you spend half an hour in Adoration for the indulgence you can’t also count it as half a Holy Hour for a separate rose). However, the acts performed towards meeting conditions for the indulgence may be counted (e.g. if you go to Mass in order to receive Holy Communion for the rose of that day, the Mass and Holy Communion can be counted as a separate rose according to general perennial rules).
- To mix it up a bit and vary the challenge, we suggest the ground rule that you don’t just repeat the same work for the indulgence more than two times in a given week and count it as a rose. Thus sometimes the rose may be obtained by a short prayer, but sometimes it will involve a little more of your time. This rule is not hard and fast. IF you really feel some weeks that sticking with a particular work is more beneficial to your spiritual life than mixing it up you can still count them as separate roses – but try to be generous with God and as a general rule to choose things that will help you to grow in your relationship with Him, as opposed to just ‘ticking boxes’ with the easier options.
Finally (since I can’t find anything that says there is any daily limit on partial indulgences) if you would like to do even more for the Holy Souls I reckon we can say for the month of November that one can count as a Rose for Mary every 50,000 days’ (approx 137 years’) worth of partial indulgences*. Here’s the Raccolta, have fun!
*Following further research after the post was written, I have discovered that this counting of indulgences in days has been abolished decades ago… whoops! Since I have no way of quantifying unspecified partial indulgences for the sake of rose counting the way of reckoning partial indulgences as roses needs to change. For this reason, as an alternative method of counting partial indulgences to the above one can simply reckon the works of the new-and-valid Enchridon of Indulgences, as a rose according to the time spent on them – i.e. every hour spent performing works on this list which amount to a partial indulgence can be counted.
Since this doesn’t change the general perennial rules much or give a particular impetus for specific indulgence counting in the month, we will also leave the original directive as it stands for those who want to use it. However (obviously) Golden Rose has no authority to say what good it will actually do for the Holy Souls. Therefore completing the rose cannot be conditional upon obtaining these specific no-longer-existent indulgences. Rather for the rose one must have the intention of offering the spiritual exercises to Jesus through Mary and asking Her to obtain for them succour and remission of temporal punishment according to the measure of her Merciful Immaculate Heart and its power before God. Whilst we cannot give the guarantee of the Church’s having attached a particular remission to any given devotion, in entrusting all to Mary we do know that she is more merciful than any Pope who has ever lived, and that God will refuse nothing to the Mother who refused Him nothing. It is therefore our hope (filial deference to magisterial decisions notwithstanding), that in passing trustfully through Her hands (in the light of our having surrendered everything to Her), our little devotions will have no less efficacy than they may have done according to any previous decrees.