As we saw in the previous article about indulgences, they are special gifts given to us by the Church to help us grow in holiness. By doing the works and saying the prayers specified we grow in love of God and neighbor; moreover, our temporal punishment due to sin is decreased (in the case of partial indulgences) or remitted entirely (in the case of plenary indulgences).
It is ordinarily possible to gain one plenary indulgence each day of the year, and there is no limit to the number of partial indulgences one can gain daily. In an upcoming post I will list some of the more common plenary and partial indulgences that are available; you might consider integrating the prayers and other works required for some of them into your spiritual life so that you can be in the regular habit of receiving them. I will also share important information on the plenary indulgence available at the point of death.
As you will recall from the previous article, it is necessary to have the intention of gaining an indulgence in order to receive it. This might at first seem tedious – what if I forget to make the intention? However, the Church teaches that it is sufficient to have a general intention. Therefore, today you could formulate an intention such as this: “I intend to gain any available indulgences from the prayers and works that I do each day from now on.” (I will post a special prayer connected with the plenary indulgencde at the point of death.) That intention remains until you should make a new intention otherwise. It is a good idea to renew your intention from time to time, although not strictly necessary.