The Gratitude of the Holy Souls.

The Gratitude of the Holy Souls.

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.

The Gratitude of the Holy Souls.

WE can easily convince ourselves of the gratitude of the Holy Souls towards their deliverers, for there are not wanting revelations of the Saints to testify that they come especially at the hour of death to protect their clients and lead them to Heaven.
Thus St. Margaret of Cortona, who was a great benefactress of these souls, at the hour of her death saw a great multitude of souls whom she had delivered, form a procession to escort her to Paradise.
St. Philip Neri, who also had a tender devotion to the Holy Souls, acknowledged that many of his spiritual children appeared to him after their death to ask his prayers. A Franciscan Father was praying in the chapel after his death, when St. Philip appeared to him radiant with glory and in the midst of a resplendent band of spirits. The Father asked who were these blessed ones, and the Saint replied that they were the souls of those whom he had released from Purgatory by his suffrages. He said that they had come for him at the hour of his death to lead him to Paradise.
Father Rossignoli says that we cannot doubt that the first prayer of the Poor Souls, when released from Purgatory, is for those who have opened the gates of Paradise for them; that they protect their clients in reverses of fortune, sickness, and accidents; but that their greatest concern is the spiritual need of their helpers. They often exercise their charity in a visible manner but most frequently invisibly by their prayers. They pray for us while they are still detained in the prison of Divine Justice. Although they cannot pray for themselves, they can obtain grace for us. Bellarmine and Suarez both teach this. St. Brigid, in one of her ecstasies, heard these souls crying out: “Lord Almighty, reward a hundredfold all those who assist us by their prayers and who offer to you their good works, in order that we may enjoy the light of your Divinity.”
St. Catherine of Bologna said that whenever she wished to obtain any favour from God, she had recourse to the Holy Souls, and never in vain. If their prayers are so powerful while they are still suffering, what will it be when, being entirely purified, they stand before the throne of God?
In Paris, in the year 1827, lived a poor servant girl who had the custom of having a Mass said every month for the Suffering Souls. God tried her by a severe illness, which not only weakened her body, but almost exhausted her slender resources. After leaving the hospital, she had but twenty sous left. On her way to seek work, she passed a church, and the sight of the priest at the altar reminded her that she had not thought of her usual Mass for the dead, and that this was the very day on which she was accustomed to have it said. She at once went to the sacristy, and gave her offering, trusting that the Holy Souls would make it good in some way. But as she walked on, she reflected that she might fail to obtain employment, and then, penniless as she was, what should she do? Just then a pale young man accosted her and asked her whether she was in search of a situation. She replied that she was. He then directed her to go to a certain house, saying that there she would find what she wanted. As she arrived at the door of that house, a servant came out, carrying a parcel and loudly complaining. “Is your mistress in?” asked the girl “What do I care whether she is or not?” was the reply. “She may answer her own bells; I am off.”
The girl rang the bell, and being bidden to enter, found within an old lady of venerable appearance, who received her kindly.
“I hear you are in need of a servant, Madame,” she said, “and I come to offer my services.”
“This is very extraordinary,” said the old lady. “It is only within the last half-hour that I have wanted a servant. No one knew this but myself and the insolent maid whom I have just dismissed. Who sent you?”
“A young gentleman, Madame.”
The lady could not understand, and began to question her as to his appearance, but just then the girl caught sight of a portrait hanging on the wall, and said: “This portrait exactly resembles the young man who sent me to you.”
At these words the lady gave a loud cry and lost consciousness. When she recovered, she made the girl repeat her story, and then, embracing her, she said: “You shall be not my servant, but my daughter. It is my only son whom you saw. He has been dead for the last two years, and you must have delivered him from Purgatory. God directed him to send you here.” Thus did the Holy Souls reward their benefactress who had given them her last penny.

Practice.—Lose no opportunity of helping the Holy Souls by prayer, fasting, self-denial and alms deeds.

Indulgenced Prayer.—“Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom come!” (300 days each time.)

EXAMPLE.

Father James Mumford, of the Society of Jesus, who was born in England in 1605, composed a well-known work on Purgatory, which he had printed at Cologne by William Triessemius. The book had a large circulation and did much good to souls, but the publisher himself above all, received signal marks of the gratitude of the Holy Souls. His young son, four years old, was dangerously ill, when the printer was engaged upon the book; he at once made a vow to distribute a hundred copies of the book free of charge among priests and religious. On his return home he found the child better. The following day his cure was complete. He immediately distributed a hundred copies free of charge. Shortly after, his wife was at the point of death; the printer again went to the church and promised to distribute two hundred copies of the book and besought the souls already delivered to unite their prayers for him with those of the souls still detained. After this he returned home, and met his servants running to tell him that his wife was recovering; her delirium had ceased, and her speech had returned. Soon after she accompanied her husband to the church to return thanks to God for His mercy.

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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