The Sufferings of Purgatory.

The Sufferings of Purgatory.


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 Sufferings of Purgatory.

ALL the teachings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church seem to coincide with the revelations of the Saints in stating that there is no proportion between the sufferings of this life and those of Purgatory. St. Augustine says: “I fear that fire which has been enkindled for those who will be saved, yet so as by fire. That . . . trial of fire . . . will be more terrible and excruciating than all the most intolerable sufferings of this life, whatever they may be.” . . . “Pain,” says Bl. Peter Lefèvre, “is deeper and more acute when it directly attacks the soul and the mind, than when it reaches them through the medium of the body. The mortal body, and the senses themselves, absorb and intercept a part of the physical and even of moral pain.”
The pain itself is always spoken of as that of fire. But of course it is not material fire, such as we know it in this world, but a special and peculiar kind of torment invented by God especially for the punishment of spirits. The closest idea we can get of it is by analogy with the pain of burning and fire, as we know it in this world. It is something infinitely more keen, searching, and vehement than anything we know in our earthly experience. Yet we do know that fire is the most terrible of natural forces, what power it has, how it destroys, overcomes, and consumes all before it, if it is not most carefully kept in check. What a feeling of fear and horror comes over us if we look into some great furnace filled with red-hot coals, and the flames thundering, roaring, and blazing in great red and yellow tongues, and imagine ourselves or any other living creature, even the vilest, cast into it. We shudder and cannot bear to dwell on it, even in thought. But even if such a thing did happen, the suffering would quickly terminate. But imagine a human being living for even one day or one night in that fierce and terrible furnace, and our imagination grows sick and faint at the very idea. Now, the fire of Purgatory is said by all the great Doctors of the Church infinitely to surpass even this horror. How dreadful, how almost unthinkable must it be!
Yet that is the pain of sense alone which we are contemplating. There is, besides, the pain of loss, of the deprivation of the face of God, of the unspeakable longing of the soul for God, which is far more terrible and torturing. If we were to dwell for any length of time in thought on this physical aspect alone, we should be too overcome with fear and horror to persevere. We are assured that the pain of loss is worse. We must ever keep before us the thought that these poor souls are in a state of entire resignation to their fate. They are perfectly united to God, perfectly resigned, and willingly suffer this torment for their purification, knowing that it is making them fit to see God. It would be an unspeakably worse torment for them to have to appear before the all-holy God with the blemishes and disfigurements of sin. They can now commit no sin, or the least movement of impatience, or the least imperfection. They suffer in most perfect peace these intolerable agonies. Purgatory is indeed a hell by its sufferings, but a Paradise by its charity. “Happy state,” says St. Francis de Sales, “more desirable than appalling, since its flames are flames of fire and charity.”

 Practice.—Do all you can to spread devotion to the Holy Souls and to get suffrages offered for them.

Indulgenced Prayer.“O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.” (399 days each time; plenary, once a month, if said daily.)


Dinocrates, the brother of St. Perpetua, was born at Carthage in Africa about the year 195. He died at the age of seven of a cancer in his cheek. St. Perpetua was thrown into prison to force her to worship idols. While here, she prayed unceasingly for the soul of her little brother, without knowing whether he stood in need of prayers or not. But one night she had a vision. She seemed to see Dinocrates, with many other persons, in a dark and filthy place. His face was pale and squalid, his eyes inflamed, and his cheek still covered with the fatal ulcer. She saw that he was in great suffering, and that he was tormented by a burning thirst; there was beside him a large basin of water, but the edges were too high for him to reach. St. Perpetua understood that this was a representation of what he endured in Purgatory for some sin of greediness, and prayed for him with renewed fervour. Some days after, having changed her prison, she had another vision, in which she saw her young brother, his body now all clean, his garments white, his face radiant with the freshness of health; she then understood that her prayers had been heard, and that Dinocrates had been delivered from Purgatory. She herself relates these visions in the Acts of her Martyrdom written by herself. They are one of the earliest records of the Church’s teaching on Purgatory.


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.


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.
V. Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
V. May they rest in peace.
R. Amen.
V. 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 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.
V. Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
V. May they rest in peace.
R. Amen.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Clement XII., by a brief, Calestes Ecclesia thesauros, Aug. 11, 1736, granted:
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.
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).


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.


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


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,
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.

Special for the month of November:

The Purgatorian Manual

Increase your devotion to assist the Holy Souls with this manual. Includes prayers for each day of the month, Novena to the Holy Souls in Purgatory by St. Alphonsus, Morning prayers, Evening devotions, Acts before & after Holy Communion, devotions for Confession, visit to the Blessed Sacrament, the Way of The Cross by St. Alphonsus, Protestation for a Happy Death by St. Alphonsus, daily prayers for the Poor Souls, Litanies, Mass Prayers, and much more. An exact reprint from 1946 edition. Softcover, 305 pages, Size 4” x 6”. (price includes shipping - US orders only.)


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