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.
Excessive Suffering 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.
Excessive Suffering of Purgatory.
Prelude.—The cries of the Holy Souls are heard from the depth of the abyss, for it is the time of expiation, and God completes His work.
Meditation.—To be able to understand well the excessive suffering of Purgatory, we must meditate on these two following considerations. In the first place, God wishes the sinner by this means to satisfy His justice, for all his sins. Now, if it is true that it would be better to suffer a thousand deaths than commit a single venial sin, and that it would be better not to commit it, even if by doing so we could save ten thousand worlds and prevent every imaginable evil, what will not Purgatory be for us, who know the grievous and innumerable faults of which we are guilty against the justice of God?
Then the second proof which we have of the extreme severity which God exercises towards the just, condemned to the flames of Purgatory, is that the instant which terminates our life terminates also our time of grace and merit; so that mercy giving way to the justice of an incensed Father, we must expect nothing but chastisement. “The judge,” says Our Lord, “will deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Amen I say to thee, thou shalt not go out from thence till thou repay the last farthing.”
O my God, how terrible are Thy judgments, and when I think of the rigour of Thy justice, and consider also the immense debts which overwhelm me, my soul is filled with fear. Help me, Lord, now that there is yet time, and grant me grace to profit by the days of Thy mercy.
Resolution.—Propose to ourselves to satisfy the justice of God in this world, in order to avoid the expiation of Purgatory, and for this end make use of voluntary suffering and indulgences.
Aspiration.—“Thou shalt not go from thence till thou repay the last farthing.” (Gospel according to St. Matthew v. 26.)
A VISION OF PURGATORY.
Adelaïlde of Rheinfelden, one of the abbesses of Unterlinden, was of noble and illustrious birth, and had married a young and noble knight, named Rodolph. They had two children, and Adelaïlde and her husband, inspired by heavenly faith, separated to spend their lives in the cloister, the father taking his son with him, and the mother her daughter. Adelaïde attained almost immediately to the height of perfection, and God loaded her with miraculous favours, often communicating her Himself, and this eucharistic participation was accompanied by the prodigy of extraordinary light. One day she saw Rodolph, the father of her two children, appearing to her from the midst of the flames of Purgatory, and he gave her a mournful and supplicating look. She redoubled her prayers and mortifications, and some days after saw him radiant with light and happiness. Finally, some time after, her angel conducted her himself to Purgatory, letting her see innumerable souls enduring fearful sufferings. She saw each sin receive, under her eyes, a special chastisement, which was proportioned to the knowledge and gravity of the fault; for every sin, whether great or little, must be expiated in accordance with Divine justice. The torments of Purgatory also equal in intensity those of Hell.
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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