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 recall to our minds the impression often made upon us during these holy exercises, by meditation on the sufferings of Purgatory.
Meditation.—We may also much relieve the souls in Purgatory by suffering patiently for them such crosses as it shall please God to lay upon us; for nothing vexatious happens to us in this life which may not tend to the satisfaction of our sins, and those of our brethren, if we receive them joyfully from God’s hand, or at least without complaint or sadness. If God wills, then, that we should be afflicted by some long illness, by some unforeseen loss to our honour, or loss of goods, of friends; if He allows our enemies to persecute us, and our friends to abandon us, let us embrace these crosses with all our hearts, and beware of murmuring at them; then shall we draw from them great treasures of merit, to assist in their need these suffering souls who implore us to take pity on them.
Resignation is also very meritorious when we endure the sufferings of this life, if not with joy, at least without impatience. “It is not a little thing,” remarks St. Bernard, “not to give way to discouragement when we fall into adversity; in fact, the experience of daily life makes us feel but too truly that it is difficult to receive an injury and not give way to revenge, to suffer much and to suffer patiently.
Resolution.—Suffer joyfully, or at least with patience, the sufferings of this life, in consideration of Purgatory.
Aspiration.—“By resignation we expiate so well our sins in this life, that, in the next world, the fire of Purgatory will find nothing or hardly anything to purify in us. (St. Augustine: 42nd Sermon on Holiness.)
VISION OF ST. GERTRUDE.
A young religious of St Gertrude’s monastery, who by her fervour and piety had been its edification, came to die. Gertrude felt the loss deeply, and was praying one day for the repose of her soul, when Jesus allowed her to perceive her before His throne, crowned with dazzling light and clothed in magnificent garments, and adorned with precious stones. But what was her astonishment in remarking in her a sort of pre-occupation, and her eyes were cast down as if shame prevented her from raising them towards the Divine Majesty. Touched by seeing her spiritual daughter trembling thus before her heavenly Spouse, she turned to Him, and said: “Most merciful Jesus! why dost Thou not receive this soul, who has given herself entirely to Thee, into the arms of Thine infinite charity, so that she may enjoy without fear the delight of Thy presence?” Then Our Lord, with a smile of ineffable tenderness, made a sign to the religious to advance towards Him; but she, more troubled still, hesitated, trembled, and at last, after a profound inclination, retreated Gertrude’s astonishment was at its height. “How is it, my daughter, that you fly from your Spouse Who calls you?” The holy nun replied: “Ah! my mother, I am not yet worthy to raise my eyes to the Immaculate Lamb; there are still in me stains which you cannot perceive. We must be so pure in order to unite ourselves to the Divine Sun of Justice.”
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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