Feast of All Souls!
The Glory of God in 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.
The Glory of God in Purgatory.
MOST people naturally consider only the dreadfulness of the pains of Purgatory, the terrible sufferings, which they naturally shrink from contemplating, both for themselves and for those dear to them.
But this is only one side of the question.
The really terrible thing about sin and the waste and abuse of grace, and of opportunities of meriting, is not the punishment we have to suffer in Purgatory, but the outrage to God and His glory which we committed when we sinned.
The passion of the Saints was for the glory of God. They were divinely enlightened to see that it was the one thing worth living and working for, the only thing that really mattered. God has created each individual human soul first of all for His own glory, for the glory and happiness of the souls He has created are His own glory and happiness. The more we are enlightened by God, the more we advance in the spiritual life, the more also we love God’s glory and are zealous to increase it. “To the greater glory of God,” said St. Ignatius. “In all things let God be glorified,” said St. Benedict, more broadly, as the end of His great Rule.
That was the one, supreme thing with those whose eyes saw deepest into the truth of things. If even on earth, where we are all still so blind and ignorant, holy souls can come to have such a passion for God’s glory as to rejoice and welcome all sufferings for that end, what will it be for us when we, too, shall see things in God’s own light, when all earthly mists and trappings are cleared away and we ourselves shall be devoured by this overmastering longing.
Of all God’s works, Purgatory is, perhaps, that from which He continually derives most glory. It is the glorification of His mercy, for without it many souls could never behold Him, since “nothing defiled can enter heaven.” It is a glory to Him that His justice is perfectly satisfied and vindicated, that the souls pay all the debts due to His justice. It is a glory to His wisdom as well as to His justice, to have devised such a means of saving man almost in spite of himself yet without the least detriment to His own purity and justice, or to man’s entire freedom. But above all the charity and mercy that this suffering gives rise to on the part of His Church is a supreme glory to God. All the prayers and satisfactions of Himself, His Mother, and the Saints, are thus used to the full by the treasury of indulgences. His glory is almost more satisfied when the debt is paid by the charity of those on earth, by the use of His merits in the Sacrifice of the Mass, or by the prayers of His Mother, than by the suffering of the souls.
In Purgatory, the outrage we have committed against God’s glory really is repaired, by some wonderful arrangement of His mercy. His justice is satisfied by this expiation, and the soul is purified by it and made fit to see God face to face, which is the end for which He created it, and which satisfies His desire, for He made the souls of men for Himself. All that is wrong can here be made right.
Therefore, we should be full of gratitude to God for this merciful institution. Even in itself, even in its terrible rigours, it is a monument to God’s mercy. It should be a satisfaction to our cravings for His glory to think of the reparation which is thus made to His outraged Majesty, even by ourselves. But we can still more greatly glorify Him by helping Him to release these poor prisoners of His justice, so that they can go to praise Him and enjoy Him forever in Heaven. This is a great work for God’s glory and He waits for it to be done by us; it is a debt which has to be paid, and we, each one of us, have it in our power to assist these poor debtors to fulfil their obligations. It is a definite account to be rendered, and we really can help to pay it. How earnest and ardent, then, should we not be to do our part, not only out of natural compassion for the poor sufferers, but above all, for God’s dear glory! Thus, if we had no other field for God’s glory open to us than this, it would be a more than ample one.
Practice.—Join some society which is devoted to the relief of the Holy Souls. (See below: CATHOLIC LEAGUE OF PERPETUAL SUFFRAGE FOR THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY)
Indulgenced Prayer. “My Jesus, mercy!” (100 days each time.).
Blessed Mary Villani, a Dominican nun, continually occupied herself in praying for the dead, who are so frequently forgotten by their relatives. One day, one of these souls appeared to her, clad in a garment of flames. The nun asked him if he had received any help from the prayers of his relations and friends. “Alas,” was the reply, “since I have been in Purgatory not a single one has come to my aid; even my own children have forgotten me. On earth I spent all my health and strength endeavouring to make money for them, so that they might live in ease and plenty. Now they will not even spend a few of the coins I laboured so hard to get, in having Masses said for my relief. Thus does God allow me to expiate my sins of worldliness and love of luxury.” Sister Mary Villani, touched deeply, ceased not to pray and suffer till she had obtained this Soul’s deliverance.
November Devotion: The Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Virtues to practice: Charity and kindness.
Psalm De Profundis
Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord! Lord hear my voice.
Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
If Thou, O Lord, shalt mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand it?
For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness: and by reason of Thy law I have waited for Thee, O Lord.
My soul hath relied on His word: my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
Because with the Lord there is mercy: and with Him plenteous redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.
Lord, hear my prayer.
And let my cry come unto thee.
Let Us Pray.
O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of thy servants departed the remission of all their sins, that through the devout prayers of Thy Church on earth, they may obtain that remission of pain which they have every desired. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.
Requiem æternam dona eis Domine ei lux perpetua luceat eis.
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS to all the faithful who, at the sound of the bell, at the first hour after nightfall, shall say devoutly on their knees the psalm De profundis, or the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Requiem æternam.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, once a year, to those who shall have performed this pious exercise for a year, on any day when, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall pray for peace and union among Christian princes, for the extirpation of heresy and for the triumph of holy Mother Church.
The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VI., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of the Propaganda, March 18, 1781, granted these indulgences to all the faithful who may happen to dwell in a place where no bell for the dead is sounded, provided they shall say the De profundis, or the Our Father, and the Hail Mary, etc., about nightfall.
The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, July 18, 1877, declared that these indulgences can be gained on the recital as aboye of the De profundis, or the Our Father, etc., before or after nightfall, provided that the bell is sounded at such hour, according to the custom of the church or place.
Moreover, His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Feb. 3, 1888, granted to all the faithful who shall recite the above Psalm, adding the versicle Requiem æternam dona eis Domine ei lux perpetua luceat eis, AN INDULGENCE OF FIFTY DAYS, three times a day.
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).
Reciting the Rosary for the Holy Souls.
Pius IX, has granted an Indulgence of Ten Years and Ten Quarantines once a day to the faithful who devoutly recite in company with others, either at home or in church, in public or private oratories, a third part of the Rosary of Saint Dominic; and a Plenary Indulgence on the last Sunday in every month to all who are in the habit of saying with others at least three times a week, the third part of the Rosary, without belonging to the confraternity of that name. (Visit.)
Benedict XIII granted an Indulgence of One Hundred Days for every Our Father and every Hail Mary, and a Plenary Indulgence once a year, to those who recite the third part of the Rosary every day; the same Indulgence of One Hundred Days had been granted for the Chaplet of Saint Bridget. Those who recite at least once a week the Chaplet of our Lord, or that of the Blessed Virgin, enriched with Apostolic Indulgences, gain numerous Indulgences on the feast indicated in the calendar, besides an Indulgence of One Hundred Days each time. (Take particulare notice that it is necessary to recite the whole Chaplet without remarkable interrruption.) – Month of the Dead.
CATHOLIC LEAGUE OF PERPETUAL SUFFRAGE FOR THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY.
In order to maintain and diffuse ever more and more among the faithful the holy and salutary thought of praying for the departed, some pious Romans projected and proposed a so-called Catholic League of perpetual suffrage for the holy souls in purgatory, to which any one may belong by reciting each day, three times, Give them eternal rest, etc., in behalf of the holy souls.
His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Aug. 19, 1880, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, recite, three times, Give them eternal rest, etc.:
AN INDULGENCE OF TWO HUNDRED DAYS, once a day. – Raccolta 1898
THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER.
His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, January 17, 1888, granted to the faithful who shall perform some pious practice for the relief of the souls in Purgatory, every day during the whole month of November, whether in public or in private,
AN INDULGENCE OF SEVEN YEARS AND AS MANY QUARANTINES on each day of the month;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, once during the same month, on any day of the month, on the usual conditions: Confession and Communion, and a visit to a church or public oratory, and there praying for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff. – Raccolta 1898.
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