For the Eve of the Holy Souls Month. – The Existence of Purgatory.

Vigil of All Saints – day of fast.

For the Eve of the Holy Souls Month. –

The Existence of Purgatory.

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.

For the Eve of the Holy Souls Month. –
The Existence of Purgatory.

IT is not difficult to convince ourselves of the necessity and fitness of the existence of a state or place of purification for souls, which we call Purgatory.
Looking at ourselves impartially, there is probably not one of us who could conceive of ourselves as transported to Heaven, say, within the next hour, supposing we were at this instant to die. Could anyone, conscious of his own faults and weaknesses, his vain, empty, earthly, selfish desires and thoughts, interests and occupations, believe that he could at once pass from this world to the beatific vision of the all-holy, all-pure God in Heaven? No; all feel that some sort of preparation, transformation, purgation—call it what you will—must intervene between our leaving this world and our entering into the blissful possession of God forever.
We are now considering merely ordinary Catholics, who strive to avoid deliberate sin, to obey the precepts of the Church, and to practise at least some self-denial. Even such as these feel that they could not dare to hope to pass directly from this life to one of uninterrupted occupation with God. How must it be, then, with desperate sinners, converted on their death-beds, who have had no time to expiate their sins, who are yet assured of God’s mercy and forgiveness, and who die trusting one day to see God face to face forever? And how with those who lead merely worldly, frivolous, careless lives, ignorant of God, of their own souls, of their eternal destiny? They all hope, in some vague way, that it will be well with them, that they have done some good deeds in their lives which will save them in the end, that they have not been nearly so bad as many others, and that, somehow, they will escape an eternity of punishment.
No one can be absolutely devoid of some elementary sense of responsibility and of retribution. Now, unless we believe in some intermediate state, in which souls can be purified and made ready for Heaven, it is impossible to have any hope of salvation for millions of souls. We know the Scripture texts: “Our God is a consuming fire”; “Nothing defiled can enter heaven” (Apoc. XXI, 27); “They shall be saved, yet so as by fire.’’ (1 Cor. III, 15.)
Heaven is the abode of the God of all holiness. The smallest imperfection renders us incapable of seeing God, but the God of all justice could not punish venial sin with eternal torments. Yet Our Lord Himself says: ‘‘Thou shalt not go out thence till thou hast paid the last farthing.” (Matt. V, 26.)
It is, no doubt, a terrible reflection that a fierce, keen, and searching fire awaits some poor creature whom we have beheld suffering agonies of pain on his sick-bed here; yet it is a very probable fact that we all must face. And the majority of us can only hope and pray that it will indeed be our happy lot to reach that land of purgation and preparation for the vision of God. There is surely no one so foolish as to believe that he can plunge from a free and easy, careless, more or less earthly life, straightway into the bliss of heaven and enjoy the sight of God.
Thus we may take it for granted that most people who believe in God and the eternal destiny of the souls of men to see and enjoy God in Heaven, admit the necessity and fitness, nay, even the desirableness of an intermediate state in which the soul can be purified and made ready for an eternal life of bliss with God and His Angels and Saints.
In this month, consecrated by the pious custom of the Church to the help of the Holy Souls, should we not try to form to ourselves some clear idea of what we really may or should think of Purgatory, and, above all, to bring home to ourselves our neglect of the duties of charity to the Poor Souls, who are at this moment actually enduring those terrible torments. . .
The least we can do is to devote a little time each day during November to such considerations as may rouse us to a sense of our obligations to our dead friends and relatives, to look forward to a time when we ourselves shall be in dire need, and to do now what we can to help ourselves as well as those near and dear to us. Could we have left them one hour in sharp suffering here on earth, if it were in our power to alleviate it, without straining every effort to do so? How, then, can we be so heartless, so forgetful, when they are out of sight? Be sure that they are looking with an intensity of longing of which we can have no idea, for your help; that they are infinitely disappointed at your forgetfulness and indifference, and that when your own turn comes, you will bitterly regret your callousness and thoughtlessness, nay if you could now see their plight, no words of your own would be strong enough to condemn your indifference and neglect. During this one month, at least, let us all try to make some reparation for our neglect of the dead; we shall find it a wonderful help to fervour and renewal of spirit in everything concerning the life of our soul.
Practice.—Offer all your prayers and good works during this day for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Prayer.—“Jesus Mary, Joseph” (seven years and seven quarantines indulgence each time. A plenary indulgence once a month, if said daily.)

EXAMPLE.

ST. ANTONINUS of Marseilles once had a vision of one who had been dead for some time, and though many Masses had been offered for his soul, he said: “My brother, all the Masses and all the prayers that have been offered up for me have done me no good. I am in Purgatory, and shall have to remain there till I have satisfied the justice of God. I have hitherto received no relief from all that has been done for me, because I neglected to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory when I was alive. All the benefit of the prayers and Masses said for me is given to those souls for whom I ought, to have prayed in a special manner, but did not do it. They are relieved instead of me, and I have to suffer. Oh, pray for me,” he continued, “that God may forgive me my neglect; and go and preach to the people everywhere to pray for the souls of the faithful departed, lest, when they die, God may treat them as He has treated me.” Then he disappeared. Our Lord Himself has told us in the Gospel “With what measure you measure, it shall be measured unto you.” (Matt. VII, 2.)

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.

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Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Most glorious prince of the heavenly hosts, Archangel St. Michael, defend us in the battle and in the tremendous struggle we carry on against the Principalities and Powers, against the rulers of the world of darkness and all evil spirits. Come to the help of man, whom God created immortal, fashioned to His own image and likeness, and rescued at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. With the great army of the holy angels fight to-day the battle of the Lord as thou didst of old fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud, and his apostate angels, who were powerless against thee, and they had no longer a place in heaven; and that monster, the old serpent who is called the devil and Satan, that seduces the whole world, was cast into hell with his angels. But now that first enemy and homicide has regained his insolent boldness. Taking on the appearance of an angel of light, he has invaded the earth, and, with his whole train of evil spirits, he is prowling about among men, striving to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to capture, to destroy, to drag to eternal perdition the souls destined to the crown of eternal glory. That malignant dragon is pouring abroad, like a foul stream, into the souls of men of ruined intellect and corrupt heart the poison of his wickedness, the spirit of lying, of impiety and blasphemy, the pestilent breath of impurity and of all vice and iniquity. Most cunning enemies have filled with bitterness and drenched with gall the Church, the Spouse of the Lamb without spot, and have lifted impious hands against all that is most sacred in it. Even in the holy place where the See of Blessed Peter and the chair of truth was set up to enlighten the world, they have raised the abominable throne of their impiety with the iniquitous hope that the Shepherd may be stricken and the flock scattered abroad. Arise, then, unconquerable Prince, defend the people of God against the assaults of the reprobate spirits, and give them the victory. Holy Church reveres thee as its guardian and patron; it glories in thee as its defender against the malignant powers of hell; to thee God has committed the souls that are to be conveyed to the seats of the Blessed in eternal happiness. Pray, then, to the God of peace, that He may put Satan under our feet, so completely vanquished that he may no longer be able to hold men in bondage and work harm to the Church. Offer up our prayers before the Most High, so that the mercies of the Lord may prevent us, and lay hold of the dragon, the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and hurl him bound in chains into the abyss where he may no longer seduce the souls of men. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, fly ye hostile ranks.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has conquered.
V. May Thy mercies, O Lord, be fulfilled in us.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name and humbly beseech Thy clemency, that, through the intercession of the ever immaculate Virgin and our Mother Mary, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst vouchsafe to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits that are prowling about the world to the great peril of the human race and the loss of souls. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., Motu Proprio, September 25, 1888, granted to the faithful who recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

ANTIPHON.

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in praelio,
ut non pereamus
in tremendo judicio.

Holy Archangel Michael,
defend us in battle,
that we may not perish
in the tremendous judgment.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, August 19, 1893, granted to the faithful who recite the above antiphon
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

GABRIEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. GABRIEL THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Gabriel the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 28, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Raphael the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

PRAYER TO S. RAPHAEL, ARCHANGEL.

Glorious Archangel, S. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by thy gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of travellers by land and sea, consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs and in all the trials of this life, as thou didst once assist the young Tobias in his journeying. And since thou art the “physician of God,” I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this favor is for my greater good. I ask, especially, for angelic purity, that I may be made fit to be the living temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 21, 1890, granted to the faithful who shall recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

THE ANGEL GUARDIAN.
PRAYER
.

Angele Dei,
qui custos es mei,
me tibi commissum pietate superna
illumina, custodi,
rege, et guberna.Amen.

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard,
To rule and guide.
Amen.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VI., by a brief, Oct. 2, 1795, granted to all the faithful, every time that, with at least contrite heart and devotion, they shall say this prayer:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, on the feast of the holy guardian angels (Oct. 2), to those who shall have said this prayer, morning and evening, throughout the year, provided that, on the day of the feast, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church or public oratory, and pray for the Sovereign Pontiff.
The same Sovereign Pontiff, by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 11, 1796, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, at the hour of death, to all those who, during life, shall have frequently said this prayer, provided they shall have the proper dispositions.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, May 15, 1821, not only confirmed the above mentioned indulgences, but, moreover, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, once a month, to all the faithful who shall have said it every day for a month, as above directed, on any day, when, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church, and pray devoutly for the intention of his Holiness.

NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript dated at Gaeta, Jan. 5, 1849, and by another of the S. Congr. of Bishops and Regulars, Jan. 28, 1850, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of the Guardian Angel, published by the Rev. Joseph M. Falcone, of the Congregation of the Missions:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, either during the novena or upon one of the eight days immediately following, if, truly penitent, they confess and communicate, and say some prayers for the holy Church and for the Sovereign Pontiff.
By a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, the same Sovereign Pontiff deigned to approve that these indulgences may be gained by those who make the novena to the Guardian Angel with any other formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority.


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.
R. Amen.
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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