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There has long been the expression, at this time of year, that the "veil is thin."

The thinning of the "veil" -- the partition between us and the eternal -- seems to occur at particular places, at certain times, and on particular dates.

There's three p.m. as the hour of Divine Mercy; there is also three a.m. as a time when the veil is thinned to the extent that that both graces and spiritual warfare -- good and evil -- seem to manifest. It has been said that when we pray for a soul on the other side, that soul can see us during the prayer. There are the days of the year as well.

One of them is Christmas.

This is perhaps why "ghost" stories have long been popular during the Christmas season.

Fascinating it is that a number of mystics through the centuries have cited Christmas Day -- not All Souls' Day, or any other time -- as when the greatest number of souls are released from purgatory. This was stated, we are informed, by the great doctor of the Church, Saint Teresa of Avila. [Look here for what Saint Teresa also said.]

It was also mentioned in approbated revelations to a 19th-century French nun, who was told by a deceased, purgatorial nun (in messages granted an imprimatur) that "on All Souls' Day many souls leave the place of expiation and go to Heaven. Also, by a special grace of God on that day only, all suffering souls, without exception, have a share in the public prayers of the Church, even those who are in the Great Purgatory. Still the relief of each soul is in proportion to its merits. Some receive more, some less, but all feel the benefit of this extraordinary grace. Many of the suffering souls receive this one help only in all the long years they pass here and this by the Justice of God.

"It is not, however, on All Souls' Day that the most go to Heaven. It is on Christmas night" [see: An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory].

"Thousands" of souls leave the "place of expiation," she stated.

As for manifestations: "Thoughts on earth can be made known here," said the nun, adding that "God sometimes allows those on earth to receive a prayer, a warning, or some information."

For our consideration.

Some say souls on the other side view us as through a window or from a vista or as if the partition thins like a scroll of glass folding back on itself.

At Medjugorje, one message at this site that is still under formal investigation stated in 1983 that "it is not on All Souls' Day, but at Christmas, that the greatest number of souls leave purgatory.

"There are in purgatory souls who pray ardently to God, but for whom no relative or friend prays on earth.

"God makes them benefit from the prayers of other people. It happens that God permits them to manifest themselves in different ways, close to their relatives on earth, in order to remind men of the existence of purgatory and to solicit their prayers to come close to God Who is just, but good."

Thus, Christmas is a day of joy -- but also a day, above all days, when we should pray for the dead.

[resources: afterlife books and Retreat announced 1/25 for Fort Myers, Florida]

[see also: powerful intercessions]

[Print article]

[Feedback: Noted viewer Mary Gleason of Maine, "I just read the article about 'Strange Things Happen on the Night of Christmas.' Many years ago, a sister-in-law of my dad's cousin was on her way to work as a housekeeper at City Hall and on her way made a visit to the church. She saw a priest who was deceased saying Mass and the people in the pews were also deceased. She knew the priest and some of the people as well. She was a wonderful Irish lady and did not make it up. This was about 5:30 in the morning and she was surprised at what she witnessed. Probably these souls needed a Mass or Masses to enter Eternity including the priest. She was a widow, had a large family, and was a stable woman and a good Catholic."]


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