Efficacy of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Continued).

Efficacy of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (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.

Efficacy of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Continued).

WE read of innumerable prodigies allowed by God with regard to the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the departed, among which the following is a very striking example.
In 1849, a Flemish woman died at the age of fifty-five, in a parish in Flanders. She had been pious and charitable and devoted to Our Lady. But she had certain faults, which, as we shall see, had to be atoned for in the next life.
She left behind a devoted servant, Barbara Vennecke by name. About three weeks after her mistress’s death, Barbara was awakened in the middle of the night by hearing her own name distinctly called three times. She awoke with a start, and beheld her mistress, sitting on the side of her bed, clad in a common working dress. But she did not feel alarmed. “Barbara,” said the apparition. “What do you want?” replied the girl. “Take the rake,” replied her mistress, ‘‘and stir the heap of sand in the little room; there you will find some money; have Masses said with it for my soul, for I am still suffering.” Barbara agreed, and the apparition vanished. On awakening in the morning, she thought it must have been a dream. But she was so impressed that she followed the directions given her, found a purse containing five hundred francs, and brought them to the priest, who, after obtaining the husband’s consent, said the Masses. The fee mentioned by the deceased was two francs, which was more than the custom of the place sanctioned, but it had been the habit of this good woman to pay this amount.
Two months after Barbara again saw her mistress during the night hours; but this time the room was filled with light, and her mistress appeared dressed in a robe of dazzling whiteness, and fresh and beautiful as in the days of her youth. “Barbara,” she said, “I thank you; I am delivered.” She then disappeared.
There was once a Polish prince, who had composed a work condemning the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. He had completed his work, but had not yet sent it to the press, when one day while he was walking in the park, a woman, bathed in tears, threw herself at his feet, and said:
“O Prince, my husband has died, and perhaps now his soul is undergoing Purgatory. I am too poor to have Mass said for him. In your kindness I beg you to come to my aid.”
Though the Prince shared not the woman’s faith, he could not refuse, and slipped a gold piece into her hand. She accordingly got a priest to offer some Masses for her husband’s soul.
Five days later, as the Prince sat in his study, retouching and correcting his manuscript, a man stood before him, dressed in the attire of the peasants of those parts. “Prince,” said he, “I come to thank you. I am the husband of the poor woman to whom you gave money to pay for Masses for my soul. Your charity was pleasing to God, and He has allowed me to come and thank you.” He then disappeared like a shadow.
The Prince at once destroyed his manuscript, and, being deeply moved, was soon after converted to the faith.
If Masses are of such great advantage to the departed, what a mistake it is for those who love their friends and relatives to spend money which might thus be so helpfully employed by them for the relief of the departed souls, on meaningless funeral decorations, such as expensive wreaths and flowers, which can be of no possible use to the dead.
We read in the life of St. Teresa, that a benefactor, a nobleman named Don Bernardine de Mendoza, gave her a beautiful house and garden in Madrid for a convent. Two months afterward he fell ill and, losing the power of speech, died without being able to confess, though with every sign of true repentance.
Our Lord told St. Teresa that he had run a great risk, but mercy had been shown him on account of his donation to her, but that his soul would only be freed from Purgatory when the first Mass should have been said in that convent. St. Teresa accordingly hurried the building of the convent as speedily as she could, and made a temporary chapel in which she had Mass said, and at the moment of Communion, she beheld the soul of her benefactor, who came to thank her for his deliverance from Purgatory; she then saw him enter Heaven. She was much surprised, for she had thought Our Lord meant the first Mass after the Blessed Sacrament should be reserved there. If any reader think that so many testimonies from Saints’ revelations are of little weight, let them remember what St. Thomas says, “that in matters concerning Purgatory, which have not been determined by the Church, the sayings and revelations of the Saints are our best guide.”

Practice.—Often make offerings, in union with the Masses said all over the world, of the Precious Blood for the relief of the Holy Souls.

Indulgenced Prayer.—“My God, I offer Thee all the Masses which are being celebrated to-day throughout the whole world, for sinners who are in their agony, and who are to die this day. May the Precious Blood of Jesus, their Redeemer, obtain mercy for them.” (300 days each time; Pius X, 1907.)

EXAMPLE.

St. Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh, was remarkable for his special compassion for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. He had a sister who led a worldly life and was fond of pleasure, vanity, and dress. Often had her brother reproved her for her folly, exhorting her to think seriously of her soul, but to no purpose. At length she died, and for some days St. Malachy offered the Holy Sacrifice and earnest prayers for the repose of her soul, until at length the distraction of his important duties banished the remembrance of her from his mind. Thus a month passed, at the end of which St. Malachy heard a voice saying: “Behold, your sister is waiting in great grief within the church yard, where she has been for thirty days without refreshment.” When the Archbishop awoke, he pondered on the meaning of these words, and remembered that it was now thirty days since he had offered the Holy Sacrifice for her soul. For many days he said Masses for her, and a short time afterward he beheld her standing at the door of the church, clothed in black garments and unable to obtain an entrance. He redoubled his prayers, and a few days later saw her clad in half mourning and admitted within the doors of the Church, though as yet unable to approach the altar. Finally, after many and fervent prayers, he beheld her clad in white garments, in the midst of a glorious company, and admitted into the very sanctuary. Then he knew that the Masses and prayers he had offered for her were answered, and that her soul had found relief.

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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