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.
Our Own Deliverance.
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.
Our Own Deliverance.
Prelude.—Let us penetrate in spirit into that abyss where the souls of the just complete the payment of their debt towards God’s justice by the torments, the thought only of which makes us shudder. Let us contemplate above all with sorrowful interest those abandoned and forsaken souls for whom no one seems to intercede.
Meditation.—There is a great principle often brought forward in the Holy Scriptures: “By what things a man sinneth, by the same also he is tormented.” (Wisdom xi. 17.) “As he hath done, so shall it be done to him.” (Leviticus xxiv. 19.) “Life for life, eye for eye.” (Exod. xxi. 23, 24.)
In accordance with this principle of God’s justice towards souls, some theologians have brought forward a doctrine which ought to decide us to have a great devotion to the souls in Purgatory.
Cardinal Cajetan, a celebrated and learned theologian, believes that the souls of those who during their lives had no charity for the dead will not profit by the prayers which the living make for them in particular. Denis the Carthusian is of the same opinion: “That let those who are slow and negligent in helping the departed, and who have had no compassion for their brethren, know that it will be done unto them as they have done unto others.”
And this opinion of pious theologians is of a nature to frighten many Christians who rarely pray for the dead, and it is well calculated to make us resolve in having a persevering and ardent devotion towards the souls in Purgatory.
Resolution.—Excite ourselves often to devotion towards the holy souls by the fear of one day being ourselves abandoned in Purgatory.
Aspiration.—“As he hath done, so shall it be done to him.” (Leviticus xxiv. 19.)
We read the following incidents in the life of St. Lidwine:
“A man came to her one day to make known the death of his father, and to recommend him to her prayers, which she promised him. When the night arrived, as she was preparing to acquit herself of her promise, she was conducted to that part of Purgatory where this man was being tormented, and her angel said to her, on pointing him out, ‘This is the man to whom you have promised the help of your prayers,’ and as soon as the man saw her, he, on his part, said to his companions, ‘This is an extraordinary thing, for since I have entered this prison I have not seen a soul living in its body; blessed be God who sends to-day the soul of this virgin to effect my deliverance.’ She released him, in fact, the following day by praying and suffering for him. In another ecstasy, God wished her to be witness of the special sufferings of one of these souls. She saw it transpierced from side to side with sharp-pointed swords, which filled her with excessive pity, and she wished to know who this poor soul was, without, however, daring to ask her angel. He prevented her thoughts, saying, ‘It is the brother of that woman who came to implore for him the help of your prayers. If you wish to ask some grace for him, it will not be refused.’ ‘I ask, then,’ she replied, ‘that he may be delivered from those horrible irons which transpierce his soul.’ Immediately she saw them withdrawn from him, and that he was conducted to the special part of that common prison which contains the souls who have incurred no special punishment. This man’s sister having come on the following day to beg the servant of God to let her know the fate of her brother, she said to her, ‘If I let you know what I know, you will trouble me and make a scene.’ ‘No,’ answered the woman, ‘I promise you not to be troubled,’ and Lidwine, reassured by this promise, told her what she wished to know, and persuaded her to work at his deliverance by alms, of which she assigned the kind and quantity. This charitable sister did everything which the saint had prescribed, but she was not quit with only her alms. God sent her such violent sufferings that patience began to fail, which the saint having heard, she undertook to bear in her stead the rest of the pain; and having done so, accordingly, the soul of this man was delivered.
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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