Matter for Expiation—Mortal Sins Imperfectly Atoned For.

Matter for Expiation—Mortal Sins Imperfectly Atoned For


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.

Matter for Expiation—Mortal Sins Imperfectly Atoned For

“BE not without fear about sins forgiven,” says Holy Scripture, and: “Amen, I say to thee, thou shalt not go out from thence till thou hast paid the last farthing.” (Matt. V, 26.)

Many think that they have fulfilled all justice when they have repented and confessed their mortal sins. But it is not so. These grievous sins have left a stain upon the soul, which must be washed away by penance in this life, or by the fires of Purgatory in the next.

As we have said, St. Frances of Rome declares that she had a revelation that there was an average penalty of seven years’ suffering due for every mortal sin. But suppose the sin was one which had occasioned the loss of other souls, then this penalty might very easily be conceived as greatly prolonged. Yet if we were more zealous in making use of the many means of satisfaction which God in His mercy puts in our way, such as fervent acts of charity, above all for the holy souls, and of cheerful acceptance of our trials, we should most certainly supply in this life much of the satisfaction due to our sins. Many revelations made to the Saints seem to show that the greatest sufferings of Purgatory are for mortal sins not sufficiently atoned for, sins of youth and such like.

It is related in the life of St. Brigid that the Saint’s daughter, Catherine, had an apparition of her sister-in-law, the Princess Gida of Sweden, who had died a holy death, but who told her she was still in Purgatory for certain sins of her youth. . . St. Lidwina also beheld in Purgatory a soul which had been twelve years dead. He had been the slave of sins of the flesh, and had repented and confessed his sins, but had been overtaken by death too soon to do penance. He was being tormented with unusual pains in the very depths of Purgatory. How many, from thoughtlessness, may have the same experience! It is neither necessary nor advisable to think of our past sins in detail, but we should pray for the spirit of abiding contrition and live in the spirit of penance, always remembering that we are sinners. By making devout use of all the means of grace which are at our disposal, such as

  • aspirations,
  • acceptance of humiliations,
  • trials and disappointments,
  • bodily sufferings and illnesses,
  • indulgences,
  • the sacramentals (Holy Water, the Our Father, the Word of God read with diligence and piety)
  • and in many other ways,

we can obtain remission of the punishment due to our past sins. Above all by frequent and fervent acts of love, we may burn away our sins, and hope for the speedy possession of God for whom we have so ardently longed during life. 

Practice.—Frequent acts of charity during the day for the Holy Souls.

Indulgenced Prayer.—“Sweet Heart of my Jesus, make me ever love Thee more and more!” (300 days’ indulgence every time; a plenary indulgence once a month, on the usual conditions.)


Venerable Archangela Panigarola, a Dominican religious of Milan, had a great devotion to the Holy Souls. But her father, Gothard, led a more or less careless life, and thought little of the suffering souls. After his death his daughter resolved to perform special suffrages for him. But in some unaccountable way she forgot her good purpose, and did very little for him. On the Feast of all Souls, while she knelt in her cell, her guardian angel appeared to her, took her by the hand, and led her in spirit to Purgatory. There she saw her father, plunged in a pond of icy water. He sadly reproached her for her forgetfulness of him, while she was so kind to others. She was struck with remorse and sorrow and promised her father to do all she could for him. Her angel, on her return, told her this was allowed by God by a special disposition of Divine Providence. “Your father,” he said, “was tormented and benumbed in a lake of ice; this was the punishment of his tepidity in God’s service, and his indifference to the salvation of souls. He was not an immoral man, but he cared little for works of piety and charity, and thus he merited the punishment usually inflicted by Divine Justice on those who are lacking in fervour and charity, for others are allowed to behave to them with the same indifference which they themselves have shown. “With what measure you measure, it shall be measured out to you.”


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 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.
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.

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.

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