Matter for Expiation—Want of Purity of Intention.

Matter for Expiation—Want of Purity of Intention.


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—Want of Purity of Intention.

WHEN Our Lord warns us not to do good in order to be seen of men, like the Pharisees, He gives as one reason that those who act primarily for the applause of men have already received their reward, in finding the praise they sought in this life, and there is no further reward to be looked for by them in the next world.
But besides this terrible truth, there is another side to the question. It is that such unwise souls will not only be deprived of their future reward, but will have to pay the penalty in Purgatory for their lack of pure intention. Works done for a human motive, like the love of praise, are tainted with imperfection and have to be atoned for as such before the soul can see God face to face.
God cannot in justice reward works which were not done for Him, even though they were just and holy in appearance.
Some years ago a priest in these islands, who had been thirty-seven years dead, appeared to the housekeeper of his successor, or of one of his successors, and told her that he was still in Purgatory for having built his church out of vainglory and not purely for God’s honour. He appeared many times and gave sufficient proofs of his identity for everyone who had known of him to be convinced of the truth of his statements.
It is very easy to allow imperfect intentions and the love of praise to creep into our best actions, even though they may have been begun purely for God’s glory. Therefore, we should watch our hearts and our motives very closely, especially when we find ourselves over-eager or excited about any work, for fear that, when we have spent ourselves in apparently good works, they should be found to be merely “wood, stubble, or hay,” as St. Paul says; “for the fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” But if it lacks the true foundation—the desire of pleasing God—for “other foundation no man can lay but that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus,” then it shall burn, he shall suffer loss,”—he shall have no reward—but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.” This text seems expressly to say that works wanting in purity of intention will be severely punished in Purgatory.
We may, however, draw consolation from these thoughts, for if works for which one has received great praise and applause should, through our want of purity of intention, meet with punishment instead of reward in the next world, God, in His mercy, will receive as expiation for our sins, trials such as failure, disappointment, want of appreciation of our good works, and such sufferings which the good may and often do endure in this world.
Therefore, if our efforts and our good works do not meet with the success or the approval which we would desire, we may console ourselves with the reflection that this will count as our Purgatory, and that we are thus freed from the occasion of perhaps greater sufferings which we might have merited by rejoicing in a natural manner in the praise of men. We shall thus learn to bear with peace of mind trials which are often very acutely felt by those who strive to do good. We may be quite sure that all things are strictly weighed and balanced in the scales of God’s justice, and not a single soul shall fail to receive the just reward of its good intentions and endeavours. Success is not always such a reward. This is one of the many ways in which the thought of Purgatory is a very salutary influence, “a wholesome thought” in our spiritual lives, for it teaches us to value things as they really are in God’s sight, and to be independent of the false and mistaken judgments of men.

Practice.—Not to be disturbed when our good works fail or are blamed by men, and to take this trial as a means to purity of intention.

Indulgenced Prayer.—“Eternal Father, by the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, glorify His Most Holy Name, according to the desires and intention of His adorable Heart.” (To be said in reparation of blasphemies. 300 days each time; a plenary indulgence once a month.)


In the year 1629, at Dôle, in Franche-Compté, Hugette Roy, a woman of the middle class, was confined to her bed by a dangerous malady. She was unwisely bled by the physician, who cut an artery in her left arm, and was speedily reduced to the last extremity. The following day, at dawn, a young girl clad in white entered her room and asked if she was willing to accept her services and to be nursed by her. The sick person willingly assented; and instantly the stranger began to serve her as a devoted nurse. Very soon the invalid felt better, and later completely recovered. The visitor withdrew when asked her name, but said she would return in the evening. Then she said: “I am your aunt, Léonarde Colin, who died seventeen years ago leaving you an inheritance. I am saved, owing to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, but without her I would be lost. I was in a state of mortal sin at my death, but she obtained for me perfect contrition, and I am in Purgatory ever since. But our Lord permits me to finish my expiation by serving you for fourteen days. If you, at the end of that time, make three pilgrimages on my behalf to shrines of the Blessed Virgin, I shall be delivered from my pains.” The sick woman consulted her confessor, who advised her to threaten the unknown person with the exorcisms of the Church. The apparition replied that she feared not the prayers of the Church, for they had no power against predestined souls, such as she was. “How is it,” then asked Hugette, “that you are my aunt? She was old and worn, and disagreeable, you are young, gentle and obliging.” “Ah,” replied the apparition, ‘‘my real body is in the tomb; this body in which you see me is formed from the air, to allow me to speak with you, and obtain your suffrages. As regards my irritability, seventeen years of terrible suffering have taught me patience and meekness. In Purgatory we are all marked with the seal of the elect and exempt from all vice.”
After such explanation Hugette no longer doubted. She received gladly the services of the soul, who could be seen and heard by her only. She made the pilgrimages as soon as she could. At the end of the fourteen days the apparitions ceased. She appeared for the last time to announce her deliverance in a state of incomparable glory. She testified her gratitude to her niece and promised to pray for her and for her family.


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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