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.
Increase of Merit.
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.
Increase of Merit.
Prelude.—Let us represent to ourselves in heaven the souls released from Purgatory making the crown of their deliverers.
Meditation.—Theology teaches us that God rewards the good works of the just in three ways: by merit, impetration (or obtaining the grace demanded), and satisfaction; and, as Father Faber tells us, “the greatest of all is merit, for by it we become more acceptable to God, and more His friends, receiving greater grace, and so acquiring a new title to greater glory. Doubtless, then, if a man could turn all the satisfaction of his good works into so much fresh merit, over and above the merit there was there before, he would be a gainer by it, and for this reason—the glory of the blessed is without comparison a greater good than the pains of Purgatory are an evil; and so the right to greater glory is a better thing than the right to less pain. He, then, who offers the satisfaction of his good works and his indulgences for the souls in Purgatory, does just this: he converts his satisfaction into merit,” and assures more fully his right to an eternal inheritance. Eternal salvation is such an immense blessing that to have some certainty of it we would joyfully suffer any torment of Purgatory, and instead of Purgatory being longer or harder to those who give all the fruit of their good works to the holy souls, it is, on the contrary, a means of their going straight to heaven, as we shall see in the following example.
Resolution.—Adopt the practice of offering to God the satisfaction of all our good works in favour of the souls in Purgatory.
Aspiration.—“Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (Gospel according to St. John x. 13.)
Denis, the Carthusian, relates that, amongst other pious practices, St Gertrude was accustomed to offer Our Lord all her mortifications and penances for the souls in Purgatory. Being near death, like all other saints she contemplated, on one hand, her sins with great sorrow, and on the other, remembered that she had offered all her satisfactory works in expiation of the sins of others instead of her own; and she began to grieve and fear that, having given everything to others without reserve, her soul on leaving her body would be condemned to horrible sufferings. In the midst of her trouble, Our Lord appeared to her and consoled her, saying: “To show you how willingly I have accepted your charity towards the dead, I now remit to you all the suffering which you would have had to endure in the next world; and, as I repay a hundredfold, I will give you special marks of your generosity, and overwhelm you with glory.” (Montfort: De la Charité envers les Ames du Purgatoire, ix. 9.)
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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