Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.
The Fire 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 Fire of Purgatory.
Prelude.—From the midst of that abyss, where souls suffer to satisfy the sanctity and inexorable justice of God, we can see tongues of blackish flames darting towards heaven, which gives us an idea of the horrors of that furnace from which they spring.
Meditation.—Represent to yourself, O my soul, the unspeakable torments of a man, who by a miracle of God’s providence was permitted to be devoured by the flames of a furnace, without being consumed; and yet, what a difference between earthly fire and the fire of Purgatory, which was created by God for the sole object of severely punishing His guilty children.
And again, as St Thomas Aquinas tells us, the fire of Purgatory does not, like earthly fire, consume only the body and material part of a human being, but it penetrates into the soul, to burn and torment it with a fire, of which corporal burns can give us but a faint idea.
O my God, I cry with St. Bernard, is it then true that all the faults which I neglect now, which I excuse with so much complacency, which I hide from myself, and which I neglect to confess at the sacred tribunal, is it then true that all these faults will be rigorously punished by the fire which an avenging God has kindled to consume them? Ah! Lord, give me now water to my head, and two fountains of tears to my eyes, that so I may perhaps wash out my sins, and the terrible fire I dread so much would find nothing in me to cleanse.
Resolution.—Pay more attention to the venial sins and imperfections which we are so tempted to excuse.
Aspiration.—“It is the same fire which torments the damned in hell, and the just in Purgatory.” (St. Thomas.)
A FINGER IN THE FIRE.
A holy religious of the congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate had long lived in the intimacy, and under the immediate direction, of Monseigneur de Mazenod; and he had retained from the lessons of his spiritual father the practice of often choosing the fire of Purgatory as the subject of his meditation, a practice to which he was faithful till the hour of his death. Appointed director of the great seminary at Marseilles, Father Albini endeavoured to instil this practice into the hearts of his young seminarists, to help them in the way of perfection. One day, one of his most devoted disciples saw him holding his finger above his lamp for a long time, and the pain drew from him sharp cries, which the courageous Oblate silenced by saying quietly to himself: “Unhappy being, thou canst not even bear the fire of thy lamp, and thou thinkest that thou canst endure the fire of Purgatory!” Father Albini died in the odour of sanctity, leaving to his religious brethren most beautiful and touching recollections of his fidelity to all the practices of the religious life.
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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