You Did it to Me.
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.
You Did it to Me.
Prelude.—Our Lord Himself invites us to intercede for the souls in Purgatory. Let us listen reverently to Him, and after spending a few minutes in lovingly considering His infinite goodness, let us meditate on one of the most powerful motives which could excite our devotion to the souls in Purgatory.
Meditation.—The motives on which we have already meditated must, if our soul is Christian and full of faith, have made a great impression. To-day we shall meditate on another motive, which, if it leaves us cold and insensible, will show that we do not even deserve the name of Christian, and that we have not an atom of faith.
God, Whose majesty is immense, Whose goodness and liberality are infinite, God Whom we have so often offended, and Who has obliged us, in a thousand ways, to pay Him every homage, God, I say, has vouchsafed by an inconceivable prodigy to accept all the good which we do to man as if it was done to Himself. His Son has assured us of it when He said, “Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these, My least brethren, you did it to Me.” It is as if He said: All the works of mercy which you have exercised towards My brethren have been as agreeable to Me as if you had done them to Me. I am not the less obliged for the help given to the soul of one of My brethren than if you had delivered it from Purgatory, and sent it to heaven. How then can we neglect anything which pleases the Son of God so much? Can we be influenced by a more powerful motive?
Resolution.—Remember sometimes that Our Lord considers as done to Himself the help which we give the souls in Purgatory.
Aspiration.—“You did it to Me.” (Gospel according to St. Matthew xxv. 40.)
MARY OF THE ANGELS.
A very edifying life has been published of Mary of the Angels, a Carmelite beatified by his Holiness Pius IX. Here are some extracts from it:
“It is quite certain that this blessed soul possessed an heroic charity and devotion to the souls in Purgatory, and two causes conspired to give her these sentiments. First, it was her love of God. Nothing is dearer to God than these souls which the flames of Purgatory cleanse from every stain, and Mary of the Angels did not forget this, and therefore as deep as was her love for her divine Master, so deep also was her desire of delivering those souls which she knew He loved so tenderly. Secondly, it was her charity towards her neighbour. A supernatural light had shown her the sad condition of those souls, and the unspeakable torments which they suffer, and this knowledge had so excited her compassion in their favour that she left nothing undone to procure their deliverance. She spared neither prayers, fasting, nor penances, to attain this holy end, and she tried also to inspire the same feelings in her sisters and secular persons. As there is no work holier or more beneficial to the souls in Purgatory than the sacrifice of the Mass, Mary of the Angels was careful to have it often offered up for the repose of their souls, and for this end she held out her hand to the rich, and occupied herself in pious labours. When she filled the office of prioress, she employed herself in working altar-linen and ornaments, which she sent to some priest or church, asking for sole payment that Masses should be celebrated for the holy souls; she inspired her sisters with the same generous feelings, and induced them to employ themselves in the same manner. During one of her priorships, as she was praying one night for the souls in Purgatory, she yielded to an impulse of fervour, and promised to have five Masses celebrated for their intention every month. In the morning, she made known her promise to her assistants, who remarked that her desire could not be accomplished, because of the extreme poverty of the house. God then came in a wonderful manner to the help of the generous prioress. During the day, a stranger came to seek her, and told her that it was his custom to have a great many Masses celebrated, and that he felt himself inspired to give her an alms, so that she could have five celebrated every month, leaving her also entire liberty with regard to the application of the holy sacrifice.”
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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