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 Torments of Love.
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 Torments of Love.
Prelude.—The hearts of the captive souls in Purgatory are consumed by ardent flames, which torture them severely.
Meditation.—Love, as said the wise man, is as strong as death, and as cruel as hell. Love is all fire, and neither a deluge of water nor entire rivers could extinguish it; we see these effects and the consuming energy of Divine love even in this life, where the soul is still incapable of uniting herself perfectly to her Beloved.
It is true that very few are able to understand and feel these truths; our minds, too much absorbed by the senses and enveloped in their earthly bonds, easily lose the thought of God, Who is a pure and sublime Spirit, and only reveals Himself to our souls; our wills, divided by so many affections, occupied with so many frivolous or criminal desires, bound down by so many earthly ties, seem only to be directed towards God as to an unknown good, whose possession is of little importance.
But, nevertheless, there have been, and there still are, souls who will understand the torments of love in the souls in Purgatory. “Give me a man who loves,” exclaims St. Augustine, “and he will understand what I say.”
And, indeed, the souls in Purgatory, deprived of their sovereign happiness, have a most burning love for God, and, being no longer prisoners of their bodies, nothing now prevents them from perfectly understanding every motive for loving God with all our strength. Seeing themselves, therefore, in a state where they are able to possess Him, and feeling that they are separated from Him for a time, whose length seems infinite to their eager desires, it is impossible that loving Him as they do, this cruel separation is to them not only purgatory but a species of hell.
Resolution.—Impose on ourselves some mortification of our affections.
Aspiration.—“Love is strong as death . . . the lamps thereof are fire and flames.” (Canticle of Canticles viii. 6.)
A DAY’S DELAY.
One day that Father John-Baptist Sanchez, a celebrated theologian of the Society of Jesus, was giving an account to his superior, Father Balthazar Alvarez, of the state of his soul; he said to him amongst other things, that if there was a single day of his life on which he was certain of not dying, he would die of grief, for he was burning with such an ardent desire of being with God and seeing Him, that a day’s delay would cause him mortal sadness. (Louis Dupont: Life of Father Alvarez, xvii.)
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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