The Pain of Fire in Purgatory.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
The Pain of Fire in Purgatory.
The Church has given no decision regarding the word “fire” in relation to Purgatory; but, according to Theologians and Doctors of the Church, we are to understand a material fire. Concerning this, Bishop Colmar of Mayence, a great friend of the holy souls, writes: “Besides being deprived of the vision of God, the souls in Purgatory must endure the torture of a fire, the effects of which are so much more painful because it is an instrument in the avenging hand of God”; a fire, as St. Augustine says, in comparison to which our material fire is as nothing; a fire that entirely penetrates the soul, in whatever manner this may be accomplished.
How, and to what extent this is done, we know not, but may draw oar conclusion from similar instances. St. Gregory the Great says: “As the fallen angels, although pure spirits, are tormented by the material fire of Hell, so may a similar fire torture the souls of the departed in Purgatory.” The justice of God can punish a spirit by means of a material substance as well as He can in His omnipotence give life to a body by the agency of a spirit. According to the holy Fathers, the fire of Purgatory does not differ from the fire of Hell, except in point of duration. “It is the same fire,” says St. Thomas, “that torments the reprobates in Hell, and the just in Purgatory. The least pain in Purgatory,” he adds, “surpasses the greatest sufferings of this life.” Nothing but eternal duration makes the fire of Hell more forcible than that of Purgatory.
Prayer: Refresh, O Lord, the suffering souls in Purgatory, with the dew of Thy grace, that their pains may be relieved, and, in Thy mercy, hasten the moment of their deliverance, that they may meet Thee in Heaven where no fire but that of Thy holy love shall consume them. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Special Intercession: Pray for all the souls in Purgatory, particularly for those who are forgotten by their relatives.
Lord grant them eternal rest, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. (Three times)
Practice: Endeavor to spread the devotion for the holy souls in Purgatory as much as possible.
Invocation: My Jesus, mercy!
(100 days’ Indulgence every time. Pius IX.).
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
November Devotion: The Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Virtues to practice: Charity and kindness.
Most loving Jesus, I humbly beseech Thee, that Thou Thyself wouldst offer to Thine eternal Father in behalf of the Holy Souls in purgatory, the Most Precious Blood which poured forth from the sacred wounds of Thine adorable Body, together with Thine agony and death. And do thou likewise, O sorrowful Virgin Mary, present unto Him, together with the dolorous Passion of thy dear Son, thine own sighs and tears, and all the sorrows thou didst suffer in His suffering, in order that, through the merits of the same, refreshment may be granted to the souls now suffering in the fiery torments of purgatory, so that, being delivered from that painful prison, they may be clothed with glory in heaven, there to sing the mercies of God for ever and ever. Amen.
Absolve, O Lord, the souls of all the faithful departed from every bond of sin, that with Thy gracious assistance they may deserve to escape the judgment of vengeance and enjoy the blessedness of everlasting light.
V. Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
V. From the gates of hell,
R. Deliver their souls, O Lord.
V. May they rest in peace.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
Let us pray.
O, God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful; grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids the remission of all their sins: that through our devout supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
Eternal rest, etc.
An indulgence of 3 years. A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if these prayers are said daily for a month (S. C. md., Sept. 15, 1888; S. P. Ap., April 25, 1934).
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