Relief of the Poor Souls—Holy Communion.

Relief of the Poor Souls—Holy Communion.

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—Holy Communion.

NEXT to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Communion is the suffrage most beneficial to the suffering souls. We cannot offer to God anything more worthy or more pleasing than Jesus Christ, His Son, and all Catholics may make this offering, though it is the privilege of priests alone to celebrate Mass.
Many revelations of the Saints assure us that Communion hastens the time of the deliverance of a soul in Purgatory. For it is the holiest work which a Christian can perform. During the whole time that the soul is one with our Lord, it is being unceasingly purified and sanctified and its acts are consequently more fervent and meritorious than at other times.
St. Magdalen de Pazzi saw her brother enduring dreadful pains in Purgatory. She cried out in anguish and begged him to let her know what she could do to relieve him. Those who were present with her when she had this vision, then heard her count up to one hundred and seven; she said that the soul had asked for this number of Communions. She then made the desired number.
In the year 1615, when General Communion for the departed was going on in a church of the Society of Jesus, a great sinner was present. He had not, however, ceased to take part in the ceremonies of the Church. Before he entered the church, he beheld a man of lowly appearance, who begged for an alms for the love of God. He refused, but the poor man continued to importune him. At last, yielding to a good inspiration, the sinner gave him a piece of money.
Suddenly the beggar began to address him in quite other terms. “Keep your money,” he said. “It is yourself who are in need, not I. I have come from Mount Gargano to give you a solemn warning. You have led your evil life for twenty years, thereby provoking the vengeance of God. If you do not immediately amend, Divine Justice will take its course.” At these terrible words, the sinner was overcome with fear, which became more acute when he saw that the man had vanished in an unaccountable manner. He entered the church, knelt down, and shed tears. He then went to confession and related to the priest what had happened to him, begging him to make it known in order to promote devotion to the souls in Purgatory, for he had no doubt that it was a soul delivered by the general Communion who had thus appeared to him.
St. Bernard says: “May charity lead you to communicate, for there is nothing more efficacious for the eternal repose of the dead.” Whilst our souls are being purified and sanctified by the presence of Jesus Christ, they are likewise better fitted for works of charity, and our prayers are more powerful with God. Through Holy Communion a more abundant application of Christ’s merits is made to our souls, which we can make over by way of suffrage to the suffering souls.

Practice.—Offer Holy Communion on certain days of the week for the Holy Souls.

Indulgenced Prayer.—“Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, increase in us faith, hope, and charity.” (300 days each time.)

EXAMPLE.

The Venerable Gratian Ponzoni, Archpriest of Arona, an intimate friend of St. Charles Borromeo, was very devout in praying for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. During the plague, which carried off so many victims in the diocese of Milan, Ponzoni not only administered the Sacraments to the plague-stricken, but busied himself in burying the dead for fear had paralysed all, and no one would undertake the terrible task. He assisted a great number of unfortunates in their last agony and interred them in the cemetery near his church of St. Mary. One day, after Vespers, as he was passing by the cemetery in company with Don Alfonso Sanchez, then governor of Arona, he suddenly stopped, struck with an extraordinary vision which he beheld. Fearing some delusion, he turned towards Sanchez and said: “Sir, do you see the same spectacle which presents itself to me?” “Yes,” replied the governor, “I see a procession of the dead, advancing from their graves towards the church; until you spoke, I could hardly believe my eyes.” The Archpriest then said: “They are no doubt the recent victims of the pest, who wish to make known that they are in need of prayers.” He immediately had all the bells rung, and held a solemn service for the dead. There can be no doubt of the truth of this apparition, since the two persons concerned hesitated to give credence to it until convinced that the same phenomenon was seen by both.

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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