Remembrance of Sin.
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.
Remembrance of Sin.
Prelude.—A dull and unbearable sadness has taken possession of the imprisoned souls; their memory is like a piercing sting.
Meditation.—Another thought increases the sufferings of the souls in Purgatory, it is the cause of their temporary exclusion from heaven. They know that their disgrace is only caused by their offences against a God of infinite love, a God to Whom they owed infinite gratitude and obligations, a God Whom they love above all things in the midst even of their torments, and that thought must be the cruellest of their executioners. It depended on themselves not to wander from God, Who desired to welcome them to His paradise immediately after their death, if they had not themselves closed the gate.
“Where is our God,” they cry, “our loving God, Who is now justly incensed against us, and punishes our ingratitude by veiling His countenance, banishing us from His presence, and detaining us in a horrible prison, where we burn with the same fire which consumes our enemies in hell.”
What increases still more the pain of their reproachful conscience is when they consider the false, fleeting, and often shameful pleasures which they preferred to the pure, solid, and eternal joys of heaven. Must thou then, O my soul, forfeit for nothing so many degrees of glory, which thou wilt lose, without, perhaps, the hope of ever regaining them. Thou preparest thyself joyfully for long years of mourning in Purgatory, whilst it is in thy power to acquire a right to a speedier entrance into eternal glory.
Resolution.—Remember often the sorrowful expectation of Purgatory to encourage ourselves in the practice of perfection.
Aspiration.—“See how hard and bitter it is for thee to have abandoned the Lord thy God.” (Isaias.)
THE TRIBUTE OF THE DEAD.
There was a pious habit in the Convent of St. Catherine at Naples of ending the day with Vespers for the Dead, recited in the dormitory. One day that the nuns had been occupied the whole day, up to the last minute, on very urgent work, they retired to rest without paying their accustomed tribute to the dead. Whilst they were asleep as many angels as there were religious appeared in the dormitory, and having placed themselves in two ranks, sang with celestial harmony the Office which the nuns had omitted. One of the sisters, who alone was watching at that hour, the venerable Paula of St. Theresa, thinking she heard the chanting of her sisters, left her cell in great haste to unite her voice to theirs. Her astonishment was great when she saw these heavenly spirits chanting the Vespers of the Dead, so that the souls in Purgatory might not be deprived of the help obtained from this Office. The servant of God felt her love and charity increase towards the holy souls; and when she had told her companions of this wonderful event they made the resolution of never again omitting, through their own fault, the recitation of this Office.—(Life of the Venerable Paula.)
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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