The Consolations of the Souls in Purgatory. – continued.

The Consolations of the Souls in Purgatory. – continued.

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 Consolations of the Souls in Purgatory. – continued.

ST. CATHERINE of Genoa tells us that the Poor Souls in Purgatory are sensible of doing two things, and these are sources of intense and efficacious consolation to them in their sufferings. First, they suffer willingly and gladly, knowing that all is justly deserved and righteously ordained, and as far as their will is concerned, they no more complain of God than if they were in life eternal. Secondly, they feel a positive satisfaction in beholding the love and mercy with which God orders His work in them. This happiness never grows less, but goes on increasing, the nearer they approach to God. They know and see these two things in God, on whom their attention is more intently fixed than on the pains they suffer.
The Saint goes on to say that she has experienced these feelings in her own soul and therefore can exactly describe the joy which accompanies the pains of Purgatory, and the consolation which the Holy Souls experience.
“My soul,” she says, “is, as it were, besieged in such a manner that all spiritual or bodily refreshments are gradually cut off; and the soul rejects them, although it knows it would have been nourished and comforted by them. This happens because there exists within the soul an impulse to get rid of every hindrance to perfection, in order to enjoy God; it would almost suffer itself to be cast into hell to reach this end; and so it goes on removing everything which might feed the inward man, and watches itself so closely that not even the least particle of imperfection can pass without being discovered and rejected with abhorrence. There is no comfort either in body or soul but God, who does all He can to satisfy His justice lovingly and with great mercy. When I see this, I feel satisfaction and peace; but my sufferings are not lessened. No sufferings . . . could make me wish things to be otherwise with me than God has determined. I remain in my prison without a wish to come out until God has done all that I need. My happiness is that God should be satisfied; and the greatest pain I could endure would be to be excluded from His ordinance, for I see how just and merciful it is. The prison in which I fancy myself shut up is the world; the chain by which I am held is the body; the soul, knowing well the grievousness of being detained and kept back by any hindrance from reaching her end, suffers great pain indeed. She knows that she is capable of attaining those properties which she has by nature, and which by grace have been revealed to her, and not being able to attain them, though capable of them, the soul suffers in proportion to its appreciation of God. This appreciation grows with the knowledge of God, and the soul’s knowledge of God is the greater, the freer she is from sin, and the delay becomes the more and more terrible, because the soul, wholly immersed in God, knows Him without error, there being nothing in the way to prevent such knowledge. . . . The soul, knowing what God has appointed for it, thinks more of God’s appointment than of any outward or inward pain, no matter how dreadful; and this because God, the Author of her being, surpasses everything that can be conceived or imagined. The participation of God granted to the soul in Purgatory keeps her so wholly taken up with His Majesty, that she can think of nothing else; everything that has to do with self passes away; the soul neither sees, nor speaks, nor knows of loss or pain of its own;. but all this it has perceived at the instant of passing from this life. God, who is good and great, destroys all which is of man, and Purgatory purifies it.” Accordingly, the supreme consolation of the soul in Purgatory really is that it is taken up wholly with God, and not with itself, and the clearest proof of this is that it willingly and joyously suffers extreme pains, without thereby having its pain lessened.
Practice.—Think gratefully of the consolations which God gives to the Holy Souls, and try to imitate their entire surrender to the Divine Will, in order to relieve them.

Indulgenced Prayer.—Pious reading of the Gospel for a quarter of an hour. (300 days’ indulgence once a day; a plenary indulgence once a month for those who have done it daily, under the usual conditions.)

EXAMPLE.

Father John Euselbius Nieremberg, S.J., who died at Madrid in 1658, relates the following fact. On the Feast of all Saints, a pious young girl saw before her a lady who had died some time previously. The apparition was clad in white, with a veil of the same color, and a rosary in her hand. She implored the charity of her young friend, saying that she had made a vow to have three Masses celebrated at the altar of the Blessed Virgin and had not accomplished this pious obligation. She begged of the girl to fulfil the vow. When the three Masses had been celebrated, the deceased again appeared, full of joy and gratitude. After that she appeared each year in the month of November, and generally in the church. She always appeared to be in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, but with an unspeakable awe. During the Elevation of the Mass, her face became radiant and as beautiful as that of a seraph. Meanwhile time passed, and still the holy soul remained in exile. She once accompanied her friend to Communion and remained with her all the time of thanksgiving, as though to share in the joy of possessing Jesus Christ. On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception she appeared so brilliant that her friend could not look at her. At Mass on December the 10th, she appeared more resplendent than ever. After a genuflection before the altar she was assumed into Heaven in company with her guardian angel, after thanking the pious girl for her help. Some time before she had told her that she suffered nothing more than the pain of loss, or the privation of God, but that this privation was an intolerable torture. St. John Chrysostom in his 47th Homily says: “Imagine all the torments of the world, you will not find one equal to the privation of the beatific vision of God.”

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.


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.
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 ever 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).


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.


Special for the month of November:

The Purgatorian Manual

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

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