Consideration on Purgatory.
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.
Consideration on Purgatory.
What goes on in purgatory? Men are burnt in a great fire kindled by Divine justice. They love God, yet are punished by God. They desire to see Him, and cannot: they expect the moment for going into Paradise, and know not when it will arrive. They suffer torments much greater than all the torments of the world, but by force, without merit, and without recompense. Oh, wondrous! the mere apprehension of a prison will put you into deep melancholy; you will probably go into purgatory, and yet take no care about it.
For what reason are souls sent to purgatory? A nun went there for something said in a whisper in choir; a religious for not bowing his head at the “Gloria Patri” at the end of the Psalms; a holy virgin for washing her face with too much nicety upon a Friday. St. Peregrinus and St. Paschasius for the very smallest faults; St. Valerius, Bishop of Augusta, for a little too much affection towards his nephew; a holy preacher for some excessive attachment to his own writings ( Calan, Buon-mort, p. iii. disc. 25); and so, many others. What, then, will become of you for so many passions, lies, acts of disobedience, of irreverence in church, negligence in your duties, idle words, vain attachments, fallings short in charity? And yet you do not think of amending yourself.
How long are souls in purgatory? How long will you be there? Let us give to each venial sin one day only in purgatory, and suppose that each day you commit thirty faults. Therefore, to every day of your life thirty days of purgatory will answer, to every year, thirty years, to fifty, one thousand five hundred years, to sixty, one thousand eight hundred years. Immortal God, what an astonishing payment! Add to the venial sins some mortal sin, absolved indeed, as far as the guilt goes, but not paid for entirely as far as the punishment goes. How many other centuries of years in purgatory! In the mean time you may wipe off the whole account with small mortifications in this life, and yet you take no care about it.
The blessed Rainier the Cistercian (Auriem. t. ii. p. 327) stood in great fear of his past life, not knowing if the Lord had pardoned him his faults, and the punishment due for them, and often prayed our Lady to have compassion upon him. So one time, when he was praying, he was rapt into ecstacy, and heard MARY praying to JESUS in his behalf, supplicating Him to lead him to heaven without going to purgatory, as one who was of a heart that was penitent for his sins, and had done the penance due for them: to whom the Son said: “My Mother, I put the matter into your hands.” Who can describe the comfort Rainier felt at such an answer? What fear could he have any longer of purgatory, from which so few are exempt, while his cause was left in his most holy Mother’s hands? Yet he did not for this chill one whit in his spiritual life, but attended to piety and the exercises of religion with fervour. In this manner this blessed Mother procures that her good children shall not suffer these sharp pains.
ACT OF HOMAGE.
Recite three times the “De profundis” for that soul in purgatory which in life was most devout to the Virgin.
“Virgo potens, ora pro nobis!”
“O Queen of heaven! obtain for me
Thy glory there one day to see.”
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.
Sequence of Pentecost
O HOLY SPIRIT! Lord of light!
From Thy clear celestial height
Thy pure and beaming radiance give.
Come, Thou Father of the poor!
Come, with treasures which endure!
Come, Thou light of all that live!
Thou of all Consolers best,
Visiting the troubled breast,
Dost refreshing peace bestow.
Thou in toil art Comfort sweet,
Pleasant coolness in the heat,
Solace in the midst of woe.
Light immortal! Light Divine!
Visit Thou these hearts of Thine,
And our inmost being fill.
If Thou take Thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay;
All his good is turned to ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness, pour Thy dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away.
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess and Thee adore,
In Thy sevenfold Gifts descend.
Give them comfort when they die;
Give them life with Thee on high;
Give them joys which never end. Amen.
May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtue to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty
O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen. (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
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