The Duration of 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 Duration of Purgatory.
Concerning the duration of Purgatory, the Church simply tells us that it is not a place of everlasting pain, but will end at the last judgment; neither are we informed of the length of time required for the purification of a soul. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the soul, to be reunited to her Creator in Heaven, must be in the state of primitive innocence which adorned her when she proceeded from His hand. The image of God must be entirely restored within her, commensurate with the degree of glory awaiting her in Heaven.
From this it is evident that the suffering souls cannot enter Heaven until perfectly cleansed, either by their pains or by the suffrages of the faithful. With the royal Prophet they cry out in plaintive voices: “As the heart panteth after the fountains of water, so my soul panteth after Thee, O God! When shall I come and appear before the face of God?” (Ps. xli. 2·3.) They suffer until entirely purified, until the last farthing of their debt is paid. Increased and intensified pain will probably supply the want of time for the souls who will not have rendered full satisfaction before the last day.
Prayer: O God! the Bestower of forgiveness and the lover of human salvation, we implore Thee, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all Thy saints, grant to the souls of our brethren, relatives, benefactors, and all the faithful departed, the joys of eternal bliss. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Special Intercession: Pray for the souls who are most desirous of obtaining help from you.
Lord grant them eternal rest, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. (Three times)
Practice: Modify your curiosity.
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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