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.
The Holy Sacrifice.
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.
The Holy Sacrifice.
Prelude.-—A priest is at the altar—whilst he elevates the sacred Host, Purgatory opens and sets free the souls whom the adorable sacrifice has released from their captivity.
Meditation.—It is with infinite reason that of all the prayers which St. Augustine desires should be offered for his mother, he should particularly ask for those offered at the altar, and nothing in fact can more powerfully appease the anger of God than the sacrifice of the Mass, where Jesus Christ, Who was once immolated on the bloody altar of the Cross, immolates himself again, but without shedding of blood for the salvation of sinners.
Three centuries had hardly elapsed since the time of the Apostles, when St. Cyril of Jerusalem exclaims that “the souls of the departed are exceedingly relieved by the august Sacrifice which is offered for them on the altar.”
St. Augustine deservedly praised his dead mother in these words: “She did not think how to have her body sumptuously buried or embalmed, but she desired that her memory might be made at God’s altar, at which she never omitted any one day of her life to be present, knowing that from thence is dispensed the holy Host or sacrifice, whereby is blotted out the guilt of the world.” And as we have already had occasion to remark, this which she requested was fulfilled “when the sacrifice of our price was offered for her,” as St. Augustine says it was.
Resolution.—Have some Masses said for the repose of the souls in Purgatory.
Aspiration.—“The only thing I ask is that I may be remembered at the altar.” (St. Monica’s Testament.)
It is related in the life of Margaret of Austria, wife of Philip III. of Spain, that no less than one thousand seven hundred Masses upon one and the selfsame day were in Madrid celebrated at her funeral; and besides a thousand Masses which this Queen by her will gave order to have said for her soul, the King of his liberality caused twenty thousand more to be said for her.
It is not many years since the death of the Archduke Albertus, Prince of the Low Countries, whose pious wife, Isabel, did procure for the relief of his soul forty thousand Masses, and for thirty days together she herself did hear ten Masses daily for her pious lord and husband. (Mumford: Prayers for the Dead.)
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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