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 listen to the supplications of the souls in Purgatory, begging us to come to their assistance.
Meditation.—Most men are so cowardly that the very name of penance frightens them, and they always find a thousand pretexts for dispensing themselves from it. Some excuse themselves on the score of their advancing years, others on the weakness of their constitution, or on their want of health, but there are some mortifications which all, both men and women, can easily practise, without losing any of their strength, or impairing their health.
For example, to debar themselves of some less necessary recreations, from such and such a conversation, sport, or spectacle; let them abstain from them, not for ever, nor even often, but from time to time, for something must be allowed to their weakness, and they must not be asked to break at once from all affection to pleasure. If they do not renounce pleasure at once, let them at least moderate its excess; let them retrench something from their repasts which gratifies their taste, and which, perhaps, may not be the best for their health; in any case it is not good to encourage daintiness. Let them give less license to their tongue, and know how to keep silence at proper times, and repress for a while the too great desire to speak, and this is offering to God a sacrifice of our lips. Job had made a compact with his eyes that they should never rest on anything which could sully his soul: let them agree with theirs that on certain occasions they will close them, that they may behold neither vain nor dangerous objects. Let them not lend their ears indiscreetly to all kinds of discourse, for there are some which cannot be listened to without sin.
Resolution.—Be faithful to the practices just suggested to us.
Aspiration.—“Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you my friends.” (Job xix. 21.)
Archangela Panigarola, Abbess of the Monastery of St. Martha, at Milan, had extraordinary zeal for relieving the souls in Purgatory; she prayed and had them prayed for, and nevertheless thought rarely and compassionately of the soul of Gothard, her father, although she had loved him tenderly during his life-time. The thought of doing so would come to her sometimes, and then she would make the resolution of praying more ardently, but still the forgetfulness continued, until an unexpected event drew her from her insensibility.
On All Souls’ day, as she was praying for the dead in her cell, her angel-guardian appeared to her, and taking her by the hand, conducted her in spirit to the midst of Purgatory, where amongst the other souls she saw that of her unhappy father, suffering most grievously. Hardly had he recognised her, when he raised himself towards her, and exclaimed, “My daughter, my daughter, how could you for such a long time have forgotten your father, in the tortures which he endures here? You are animated by great charity for the souls which are strangers to you. I have seen them leaving this painful abode through your prayers, and I, your father, to whom you owe so much, you forget me, and have no compassionate feeling towards me.”
Archangela, quite disconcerted at hearing these reproaches, which she acknowledged having deserved, began to weep, and promised her unhappy father that she would implore his deliverance of God until she had obtained it. Then turning to the angel, as if to ask the meaning of this forgetfulness, of which she acknowledged herself guilty, he answered, “Your forgetfulness has been permitted by God, in punishment of the little zeal which your father had in serving Him, and in working at his own salvation. Thus it is that God acts towards those who conduct themselves in this manner, therefore let the souls who neglect the only important thing they have to do on this earth, and who seem to have no energy but for the affairs of this world, see at least their blindness, and let them remember that, though their sins are pardoned, there still remains, notwithstanding, an expiatory suffering which must be undergone either in this world or in the next.” The holy religious shed torrents of tears, and redoubled her fervour and zeal, till she had appeased Divine justice, and had the joy of beholding her father appear to her radiant with joy and gratitude. (Vie de Ste. Archangèle Panigarola, par le R. P. Octave Juniciati, de Ia Compagnie de Jésus, I” partie.)
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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