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.
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.
Prelude.—Let us represent to ourselves the fearful austerities which are practised by so many religious orders, both men and women, throughout the whole Church. From them spring a treasure of merit in which the merciful justice of God is pleased to make the souls in Purgatory participate.
Meditation.—We read in the First Book of Kings that, “when the inhabitants of Jabes Galaad had heard all that the Philistines had done to Saul, all the most valiant men arose and walked all the night, and took the body of Saul, and the bodies of his sons, from the wall of Bethsan: and they came to Jabes Galaad, and burnt them there; and they took their bones and buried them in the wood of Jabes, and fasted seven days.”
This example shows us how for ages the faithful have fasted for the dead, and we see with lively admiration that this practice has at all times been approved and followed in the Catholic Church. Besides, under the name of fasts all other mortifications and austerities are comprehended, as disciplines, hair-cloth, lying on the ground, etc.
O my Jesus, Thou Who has said that, “As long as you did it to one of these My least brethren, you did it to Me,” what pretext then can my cowardice find to dispense me from helping the souls in Purgatory, knowing that the good which I should do them would not be less agreeable to Thee, than if I had done it to Thyself? I offer Thee then for them all the mortifications which I resolve to practise for their intention.
Resolution.—Shake off our cowardice, so as to embrace courageously the practices of voluntary penance, in favour of the poor souls in Purgatory.
Aspiration.—“And they took their bones and buried them in the wood of Jabes, and fasted seven days.” (I Kings xxxi. 13.)
CONTINUAL PRESENCE OF A SOUL.
We read the following incident in the annals of the Visitation of Dijon:
Sister Mary Bernard Chicolier, who attained to great sanctity, was prevented by special, graces from her earliest years. She formed, when quite young, the design of consecrating herself to God, and was clothed, and made her profession under the government of our mother, Anne Lidwine Boulier. The Mère Chahu, who was her successor, helped this dear sister, amidst the great trials through which it pleased God to make her pass, and Who imprinted in her heart a most lively horror of the smallest imperfections by permitting a soul in Purgatory to appear to her, and to be in a manner continually present to her. Our mother, to whom this dear sister disclosed all that she suffered, caused her to be examined by M. Chaudot, our superior, and by the Rev. Father Jacquinot, Provincial of the Society of Jesus, who after a serious examination, judged that there was in this neither illusion nor imagination. It was, therefore, decided that the community should have masses celebrated, and recite every day a De profundis for the repose of this soul, and that Sister Chicolier should be at liberty to make particular penances for this intention. This dear sister practised great austerities, offering besides for this soul, all her good works, which were very numerous, and never allowing herself a single inclination of nature, or the slightest satisfaction. The priest, who was charged with celebrating the Masses, was a Capuchin monk of great holiness, and who entirely ignored everything that had happened. He came one day to find Mère Chahu, and assured her that the soul whom she had caused to be prayed so much for, had entered into possession of the glory of God.
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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