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.
Joy of the Church.
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.
Joy of the Church.
Prelude.—Let us represent to ourselves the joyous welcome with which all the inhabitants of the heavenly City receive a soul who has just been delivered from the flames of Purgatory.
Meditation.—We cause great joy in the Church, both militant and triumphant. Great is the feast in heaven as the number of its citizens is increased; for if there is joy there over one sinner who does penance, and yet he can return to his sin again, what must the joy be over that new citizen who can sin no more? Its guardian angel, too, rejoices, and receives a thousand congratulations from the celestial spirits, at the successful issue of his guardianship. There is joy also among the saints, to whom the soul was specially devoted, and among his relatives and friends, and in the choir to which he is aggregated. Our Lady, too, at the success of her multiplied intercessions, while Jesus reaps the harvest of His precious Blood, with love and with rejoicing. The Holy Ghost vouchsafes to joy over the triumph of His gifts and countless inspirations; and the Eternal Father in the perfection of His chosen creature, whom He has borne with so long and so compassionately. Neither is the Church militant less interested in this joy. She has gained a new advocate. The relatives, friends, family, community, country, of that soul have especial reason to rejoice. Nay, all the predestinated, and indeed, all nature, have cause of joy that another creature has entered into the joy of its Creator.
Resolution.—Let us rejoice, interiorly, in union with the Church, at the thought of the ransomed souls who will enter heaven to-day.
Aspiration.—“So I say to you there shall be joy before the angels of God.” (Gospel according to St. Luke xv. 10.)
FRANCES, OF ROME.
St. Frances, a Roman lady, had several visions in which God showed her the joy of the angels and saints, and also the sufferings of Purgatory. She relates that she was witness of the passage of souls to eternal glory, and of what happens when they are conducted to the place which they have merited in heaven. The choirs of angels, as they pass, testify their joy and sing their triumph, but the greatest joy is that of the choir in which they are placed; there fervent thanksgivings are offered up, and hymns ascend in praise of the all-powerful God, and the festival is kept up longer than in the other choirs. When St. Frances wished to express to her spiritual father the great joy of the angels at the arrival of a soul in its true country, she seemed to hear the celestial concert of spirits and blessed souls singing with a sweetness, harmony, and rapture, which no human tongue could express, the praises of the Creator, and the glorious transformations of His love, and then her countenance became inflamed, or rather seemed to melt like wax before a glowing fire. One day her spiritual father asked her in the name of holy obedience, which were most perfect, the angels or the souls which she beheld in her visions? and she answered that human beings were more perfect in glory, because they were better able to acquire merit. Nevertheless, she added, angelic spirits are purer and more beautiful, and they have a greater understanding of divine things, their hymns are clearer, and they praise and bless God with more melodious harmony; but the hymns of the Queen of Heaven greatly surpass all the melodies of human or angelic beings. At the sight of the glory which surrounds the souls of the blessed, St. Frances despised herself for being obliged to inhabit a mortal body, and possessing so feeble an intelligence. For when she contemplated herself in the divine mirror, she was confused at not being able to comprehend the depth of the divinity, whilst she was struck with admiration in contemplating the activity and penetration with which the seraphic spirits sounded the depths of the divine abyss. What wonderful power must that be which could create and govern these wonderful intelligences!
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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