Relief of the Poor Souls—The Holy Mass.

Relief of the Poor Souls—The Holy Mass.

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.

Relief of the Poor Souls—The Holy Mass.

INCOMPARABLY beyond every other suffrage for the benefit of the Holy Souls is the Sacrifice of the Mass, for it is the same as the Sacrifice of Our Lord on the Cross, which was of infinite value. But as the efficacy of the Sacrifice is limited in its application according to the will of God, the measure of its application to individual souls is known only to Him.
We read of a revelation made to a holy Franciscan, John of Alvernia. While celebrating Mass for the departed on All Souls’ Day he beheld Purgatory open, and souls coming forth, as it were, like innumerable sparks from a great furnace.
A religious of the Order of Cluny, who suffered much in Purgatory for his negligence and tepidity, had asked the assistance of St. Bernard. The saintly Abbot offered many prayers, facts, and Masses for him. The sufferer was speedily delivered and appeared to an old monk who had been greatly interested in him. When asked what suffrage had been most profitable to him, he took the old monk by the hand, and leading him to the door of the Church, where Mass was being said, he said: “Behold the great redeeming power which has broken my chains, behold the price of my ransom; it is the Saving Host which takes away the sins of the world.”
Blessed Henry Suso had a friend who was also a religious of his own Order. They promised each other that the first of the two who should die would be assisted by the other by the celebration of two Masses a week for a whole year, on Monday a Requiem Mass and on Friday, one of the Passion, if possible. Suso was the brother left to fulfil the pious compact. He had forgotten its terms, and offered many prayers and severe penances for the deceased, but not the promised Masses.
One morning, while he was at his meditation in the chapel, his departed friend appeared to him, and bitterly reproached him for forgetting the compact which they had made. Suso hastened to remind his friend of all the penances and prayers which he was still offering for him. “Do not these suffice?” he asked. “Oh, no!” replied the suffering brother, “it is the Blood of Jesus Christ that is needed to extinguish the flames which torment me; I implore you to keep your word; refuse me not this act of justice which you owe me.”
Blessed Suso then requested other priests to help him to pay the debt of Masses, and even said more than he had promised. After some days, his friend appeared to him with a joyful countenance and shining with light. “O my faithful friend,” he said, “behold, by the Blood of our Saviour I am now delivered. I am going to Heaven to contemplate Him whom we so often adored together in the Holy Eucharist on earth.”
The devotion of Masses for the Holy Souls for thirty consecutive days is of very ancient origin, and is first mentioned in the Dialogues of St. Gregory. (Book IV.) A certain religious, named Justus, had kept some pieces of gold, contrary to holy poverty. He had been excommunicated for his fault, and sincerely repented of it, and died shortly afterwards. St. Gregory, in order to show the seriousness of the fault in a religious, did not withdraw the sentence of excommunication. Justus was buried apart from the other monks, and the three pieces of money were thrown into his grave. Some days after, St. Gregory, moved with compassion for this suffering soul, called the Procurator and ordered thirty Masses to be said for his soul. These Masses were to be said for thirty consecutive days. When the thirtieth Mass was ended, the departed soul appeared to a brother, saying: “Bless God, my dear brother, for to-day I am delivered and admitted into Heaven.” Since that time the custom of saying thirty Masses for the dead has become established.
In almost every revelation of the state of souls in Purgatory we read of the efficacy of this Most Holy Sacrifice for the relief of the departed.

Practice.—Never lose an opportunity of getting Mass said for the Holy Souls.

Indulgenced Prayer.—“Jesus, I live for Thee; Jesus, I die for thee; Jesus, I am Thine in life and death. Amen.” (100 days each time; a plenary indulgence once a month to all who have recited it daily for a month, on the usual conditions.)

EXAMPLE.

A certain Cistercian monk, who was at first very fervent, by degrees became relaxed, and at last returned to the world, where he fell from bad to worse, and became a highwayman. In the siege of a certain castle, he was wounded by a javelin, and brought to death’s door. He begged for a priest. But when the priest heard the tale of his crimes, he was horrified and unwisely refused to give him absolution. The dying man said that God willed not the death of a sinner, but rather that he be converted and live, which was quite true. Then he begged the priest to give him a penance, but the priest replied: “You are lost, man; I know not what penance to give you.” Then the dying man said: “Since you will not give me a penance, I choose for myself two thousand years of Purgatory, hoping that after that I will find mercy with God.” The priest then agreed to carry a sealed letter to the bishop.
When the bishop, who was a relative of the dying man, received the letter, he was greatly grieved, and calling together all the abbots and bishops of his diocese, he enjoined on them all to say many Masses that year for the man who had died. Meanwhile he himself offered Mass every day for the repose of the soul. At the end of the year the dead man appeared to him, pale and haggard, and clothed in filthy garments. The bishop asked him how he was. He answered that he was in great pain, but that a thousand years of his Purgatory were remitted because of the Masses that had been said in the diocese for him. He added that if another such year of Masses were said, he would be entirely freed. The bishop sent word of this through all the diocese, and the prayers and alms were continued for one year more. The dead man again appeared, but with clear and serene face, and clad in a snow-white cowl. “May God reward you!” he said to the bishop; “I now enter into the joy of my Lord, for these two years are reputed to me as two thousand.” He then disappeared.

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.
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).


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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