Relief of the Poor Souls—Prayer.

Relief of the Poor Souls—Prayer.

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—Prayer.

A HOLY bishop, when rapt in ecstasy, saw a child, who with a golden fish-hook and a silver thread drew forth from the bottom of a well a woman who had been drowned therein. Afterwards, when on his way to the church, he saw the child of his dream praying at a grave in the cemetery. “What are you doing, my child?” he asked. “I am saying the Our Father and Hail Mary,” replied the child, “for the soul of my mother, for this is her grave.” The holy prelate then understood that God had wished thus to show him the efficacy of prayers for the dead, and that the fish-hook was the Pater, and the Ave the silver thread of the mysterious fishing line.
There is a devotion which is entirely made up of these two powerful prayers, and which is of the greatest efficacy in assisting the departed, and that is the Rosary.
The venerable Father J. E. Nieremberg, S.J., was very assiduous in reciting the Rosary for the dead, and used for this purpose a chaplet enriched with all the indulgences it was possible to procure. But one day he lost this precious Rosary, and was inconsolable, not for the sake of the beads, but because he could no longer give the relief he sought to the poor suffering souls. He passed the whole day in fruitless search, and when evening came, he had to say his Rosary without the indulgenced beads. While thus engaged, he heard a noise in the ceiling, like that of his beads, which was to him so familiar a sound, and looking up, he beheld his chaplet, held by invisible hands, descending towards him and at last falling at his feet. He had no doubt that the Poor Souls had recovered his lost chaplet, which was to them of such great benefit.
Brother Peter de Basto, of the Society of Jesus, who died in the odour of sanctity at Cochin, in 1645, daily recited the Rosary for the dead. One day he forgot it, and retired to rest, but he had hardly fallen asleep when he was awakened by his guardian angel. “My son,” said this heavenly spirit, ‘‘the Souls in Purgatory await the benefit of your daily alms.” Peter instantly arose and said the Rosary.
Mother Frances of the Blessed Sacrament also recited the Rosary daily for the dead. She called it her almoner and ended each decade with Requiescat in pace. Sometimes while she was so engaged, the souls appeared to her, took her hands, and kissed them lovingly as the instrument of their deliverance.
Another devotion most helpful for the dead, and which is enriched with countless indulgences, is the Way of the Cross. It excites feelings of repentance for sins committed, love for Our Lord, and is one of the most excellent ways of meditating on the Passion of Christ. It is consequently of the greatest benefit to the souls who practise it, softening the heart, inclining it to compunction, and obtaining for it the grace of prayer, which renders all its devotions more efficacious in the sight of God.
Venerable Mary d’Antigna had the pious habit of daily making the Stations of the Cross for the Holy Souls; but as time went on, she gradually grew remiss in this particular exercise, and finally omitted it altogether. But one day a religious of her convent, who had recently died, appeared to her and sorrowfully complained that she was depriving the Holy Souls of the great assistance she had formerly rendered them, asking the reason of this neglect.
Then Our Lord himself appeared to His servant, and also reproached her for her negligence. “Know, my daughter,” He said, “that the Stations of the Cross are most profitable to the Holy Souls, and constitute a suffrage of the greatest value. It was on account of your exactitude in practising it that you have been favoured by frequent communications with the dead. These grateful souls never cease to plead for you.” He then charged her to make known to all what a treasure of relief for the Holy Souls was this devotion of the Way of the Cross.

Practice.—Daily make the Way of the Cross for the most neglected souls in Purgatory.

Indulgenced Prayer.—“Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ in satisfaction for my sins, and for the wants of Holy Church.” (100 days each time.)

EXAMPLE.

St. Magdalen de Pazzi learned from Our Lord to offer to the Eternal Father the Blood of His Divine Son. It was a simple commemoration of the Passion. She did it fifty times a day, and in one of her ecstasies she saw a large number of souls delivered from Purgatory by this practice. “Each time,” He added, “that a creature offers to My Father the Blood by which he has been redeemed, he offers Him a gift of infinite value.” The Passion of Jesus Christ and His Precious Blood shed for our salvation are an inexhaustible ocean of merit and satisfaction. It is by virtue of the Passion that we obtain all gifts and mercies from God. This is why the Mass is so efficacious, being one and the same with the Sacrifice of the Cross.
A holy priest, Father Rossignoli, often offered Mass for the Holy Souls, and occasionally the soul he relieved appeared to him to thank him or ask his prayers. One Saturday he saw a soul in pain, who besought him to offer the Holy Mass for her next morning, and several other souls who were suffering terribly. But the Saint replied: “I cannot say the Mass for the dead to-morrow, as I must sing the Conventual Mass in choir.” “Ah,” replied the soul, “at least come and behold our sufferings, and you will no longer refuse; you are too good to leave us in such cruel agony.”
It seemed to him then that he was transported into Purgatory. He saw an immense plain, where multitudes of souls, of all ages and conditions, were tormented by horrible sufferings. “Behold,” said his friend, whose name was Pellegrino d’Osimo, “the state of those who sent me to you. We trust that God will refuse nothing to the oblation of the Sacrifice by you.” Next morning he went to the prior and told him of the vision. The prior dispensed him for that day and for a week, from the Conventual Mass, that he might devote himself entirely to the suffering souls. During that entire week he offered his daily Mass for them with all kinds of other prayers and penances and good works. At the end of the week Pellegrino reappeared, clad in white garments, and surrounded with light, in which he pointed out a large number of happy souls. All thanked Father Rossignoli, calling him their liberator, and then, rising to heaven, they chanted the words: “Thou hast saved us from them that afflict us,” meaning, from the consequences of their sins.

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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