The Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost.

On the Unmerciful Servant in the Gospel for To-day.


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.

On the Unmerciful Servant in the Gospel for To-day.

We are told that Peter put this question to our Lord: “Lord, how often shall my brother offend against me and I forgive him? till seven times?” (St. Matt, xviii. 21.) That appeared to the apostle to be going as far as possible in the way of conciliation. Our Lord viewed it otherwise. He was not satisfied with forgiving seven times only, He required it to be till seventy times seven; and in order to make this sublime precept of Christianity intelligible to the disciples, He related to them the parable of the unmerciful servant. Listen to this parable as it comes from our Lord’s lips, and meditate upon it.

1st. Consider the magnitude of the debt owed by the servant. The Evangelist says: “The kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a king who would take an account of his servants. And when he had begun to take the account one was brought to him that owed him ten thousand talents.” (v. 23, 24.) The Jewish talent was equal to about nineteen hundred dollars of our money (this was written in 1900 so multiply the 1900 $1 by $30.57 to get the amount in 2013 – $58,083), and the servant owed ten thousand of those talents (in 2013 $’s – $580,830,000). You are amazed at the enormous amount of that servant’s debt, but you do not think how your own debt is mounting up. You have lived twenty or thirty years perhaps, or even sixty or eighty. You can count the years of your age, but are you able to count up the thoughts and words of one single year? Yet according to our Lord’s own dictum you will have to give an account of every word. Can you reckon up the good inspirations, the graces you have received in the course of one year only? Yet you will have to give an account of all those graces. Every moment of your life is a gift from God; how many of those gifts have you misused by employing them in the service of sin, by living in sin? If you have to give an account of all this to your Lord, will your debt be found to be much less than that of the servant in the parable? And shall you be much better off than he was, since our Lord proceeds to say that “he had not wherewith to pay”? Have you anything wherewith to pay? Do not all that you are, all that you have, your body and soul, your goods and chattels already belong to God, independently of this debt? O miserable man! Nothing remains to you but to fall on your knees like the servant in the Gospel and implore the Lord: “Have patience with me.” How many times have you already proffered that petition, and how often has it been true of you what Jesus says: “The lord of that servant being moved with pity, let him go and forgave him that debt.” (v. 27.) But you continue to contract fresh debts, forgetting that even God’s mercy and patience will come to an end at last.

2d. Consider the extreme unmercifulness of the servant. “But when that servant was gone out, he found one of his fellow servants that owed him an hundred pence; and laying hold of him, he throttled him, saying: Pay me what thou owest. And his fellow servant falling down besought him, saying: Have patience with me and I will pay thee all. And he would not, but went and cast him into prison till he paid the debt.” (v. 28- 30.) Represent to yourself once again the unmerciful servant when, trembling and quaking with apprehension, he is on his knees before his master, beseeching him to have patience for the payment of the enormous debt, and then behold that same servant face to face with his debtor. You will be roused to anger and indignation at such an excessive want of compassion. His conduct will appear incomprehensible, almost incredible in your eyes. And yet, perhaps, you greatly resemble that servant. How often in the Sacrament of Penance you have prayed: Lord have patience with me! And the Lord has had compassion, and forgiven you all your debt. But alas! when you go forth from the presence of that merciful Lord, when you leave the confessional, when you rise up from the holy table, there meets you a fellow servant, one who has done you a slight wrong, who has said a few thoughtless words about you, who has committed some unkind act in your regard. What is his debt compared with yours? What are a hundred pence not as much as twenty dollars compared with ten thousand talents? What is it to offend a man, a sinner, compared with offending, as you have done, the triune God? And yet while the Creator of Heaven and earth forgives you, who are but dust and ashes, all your debt, and by His kindness preserves you from the eternal prison of hell, you lay hands on your debtor, you throttle him, not indeed with your hands, but with your tongue and in your heart. You demand complete compensation, a humble apology, and God knows what else, otherwise you will not forgive him! Are you not ashamed of showing indignation at the unmerciful servant in the Gospel? Ought you not rather to lay to heart the words our Lord added: “Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt because thou besoughtest Me; shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee?” (v. 32, 33.)

3d. Consider the punishment of the unmerciful servant. The Evangelist tells us: “And his lord being angry delivered him to the torturers until he paid all his debt.” (v. 34.) The unfortunate man had already obtained forgiveness, he had received remission of all his debt, and now he had lost all through his love of revenge. His own unmercifulness was the means of casting him into the self-same prison from which his lord’s mercifulness had kept him. Weigh this well, my soul. No forgiveness, no absolution, no sacrifice, no prayer avails you aught as long as you cherish enmity and revenge in your heart. He who will not forgive shall not be forgiven. He who is unmerciful like the wicked servant, shall be punished as he was. Hence the Apostle admonishes us: “Let all bitterness and anger and indignation and clamor and blasphemy be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another; merciful, forgiving one another, even as God hath forgiven you in Christ.” (Eph. iv. 32.) Delay not a single day to follow the apostolic admonition; follow it even in trifles, such as are called antipathies or susceptibilities, for your spiritual progress depends to no small extent on this. Nay more, listen to what St. Basil says on this subject: Just as no one ought to entertain a strong predilection for one individual, because that is apt to have undesirable results, so it is not right to allow oneself to take a great dislike to any one, as that, too, may be productive of the worst consequences. For as Christ requires us to love the Brethren as a mark of being His disciples, it follows as a matter of course that those who do not love their Brethren are not the disciples of Christ, are not true Religious.


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.


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).


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 particular notice that it is necessary to recite the whole Chaplet without remarkable interrruption.) – Month of the Dead.


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


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,
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.


These prayers should be recited on All Souls’ Day, when visiting the grave of some person we have known, on anniversaries, in seasons set apart for the commemoration of the departed, and for a certain time daily after the death of a relative.

DELIVER me, O Lord, from eternal death, in that tremendous day;
When the heavens and the earth shall be moved.
When Thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
I am in fear and trembling, until the trial cometh, and the wrath to come:
When the heavens and the earth shall be moved.
That day, a day of wrath, calamity, and misery;
a day great and very bitter;
When Thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death, in that, tremendous day;
When the heavens and the earth shall be moved.
Let us pray for the faithful departed in Christ:
Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.
Antiphon. If Thou, Lord, shalt observe iniquities, Lord, who shall endure it?

Prayers for the Dead.


O GOD, Who wert pleased that in the apostolic priesthood Thy servant, N., should be invested with sacerdotal dignity, grant also, we beseech Thee, that he may be joined forevermore to the fellowship of that priesthood in heaven. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.


O GOD, Who hast commanded us to honor our father and mother, we pray Thee that Thou wouldst of Thy clemency grant to the souls of my father and mother the remission of their sins, and grant that I may see them again in the enjoyment of eternal glory. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.


O GOD, the Bestower of pardon and the Lover of man’s salvation, we pray that, through the intercession of blessed Mary ever Virgin, and all Thy saints, Thou wouldst of Thy clemency grant unto such of our brethren, relatives, and benefactors as have passed out of this world to arrive at the common enjoyment of everlasting blessedness. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.


O GOD, we commend to Thy mercy the souls of those who by charitable institutions have actively promoted Thy glory and the good of their brethren. Recompense them with eternal goods for the benefits they have conferred on their needy brethren, and grant that in everlasting bliss they may enjoy the treasures they have laid up in heaven by their good works. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.


DO Thou of Thy goodness, O Lord, take pity on the soul of Thy servant; that being dead to this world, it may live unto Thee. Cleanse it, by Thy infinite mercy, from the defilement which by mortal frailty it has contracted during this earthly life. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.


O GOD, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids the remission of their sins; that through our pious supplications they may obtain that pardon which they have always desired. O Thou that livest and reignest, etc. Amen.
Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
V. May they rest in peace.
R. Amen.


O LORD JESUS CHRIST, the Saviour and the Redeemer of all the faithful, Who camest not for the destruction of souls, but to save them and to give Thy life a ransom for many, we earnestly beseech Thee, that by Thy infinite mercy and clemency Thou wouldst look with kindness and compassion on the souls of all the faithful departed, who are still suffering in the purifying fire, that although their pains are not unmerited, yet they may be released from them by Thy tender loving kindness. In Thy mercy come to the assistance of the souls whom Thou hast redeemed by Thy Precious Blood; and for the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints be propitious unto them, deliver them from their torments, clothe them with the garment of glory and immortality, and admit them to the joys of paradise, where Thou, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.
O all you souls of the faithful departed, who have fallen asleep in the peace of the Lord and whose remains are interred here or elsewhere in the sweet name of Christ, may God the Father bless you, may God the Son redeem you, may God the Holy Ghost comfort you. May the Lord God grant unto you eternal rest through the bitter Passion and death of His beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ; may Mary, the ever-blessed Mother of God, and all the heavenly hosts intercede in your behalf. And when you are in the presence of God, O Christian souls, pray for me a miserable sinner. Amen.

                     Nihil Obstat:                      Imprimatur:
Thomas L. Kinkead,             Michael Augustine,
                             Censor Librorum                 Archbishop of New York.
New York, October 5, 1899.

ALL ye, who would honor
The saints and their Head,
Remember, remember,
To pray for the dead;
And they, in return,
From their misery freed,
To you will be friends
In the hour of need.

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