The Sufferings of Purgatory compared to the Sufferings of this Life.

The Sufferings of Purgatory compared to the Sufferings of this Life.

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 Sufferings of Purgatory compared to the Sufferings of this Life.

Prelude.—Let us listen to the mournful cries escaping from the prison of expiation, where the inexorable justice of God detains those souls, who must be perfectly cleansed and purified before He admits them into His paradise.

Meditation.—The pain of sense in Purgatory greatly surpasses the cruellest and most insupportable pains of this life. “Everything that we could see, imagine, or feel of the sufferings of this life,” says St. Augustine, “is very little indeed, compared to the flames of Purgatory.” Venerable Bede assures us that neither the torments of the martyrs nor the punishments of criminals can approach the pains of Purgatory. St. Thomas Aquinas goes still further, for with all the authority of his genius and his science he affirms that the least of the sufferings of Purgatory is greater than the greatest suffering of this life, and the same Doctor shows us again the extent of the torments of Purgatory, when he says, “that it is the same fire which torments the damned in hell as the just in Purgatory. The pain of sense in hell does not differ from that in Purgatory, except that the torments of hell will never end, and those of Purgatory will. These are terrible considerations, and we must be very blind or very frivolous to expose ourselves willingly to the sensible torments of Purgatory by the facility with which we allow ourselves to commit faults which, without being mortal, nevertheless offend our loving God, and irritate His justice, and these same considerations should strongly urge us to show our compassion for these poor souls, who are suffering such torments in Purgatory, by the fervour and perseverance of our suffrages in their favour.

Resolution.—Bear willingly all the little contradictions and sufferings of this life, and offer this resignation in exchange for the fearful pains which await us in Purgatory.

Aspiration.—“Rebuke me not, O Lord, in Thy indignation; nor chastise me in Thy wrath.” (Psalm xxxvii. 2.)

EXAMPLE.

AN HOUR IN PURGATORY.

Two religious full of piety and zeal for their sanctification, and having the same attraction for prayer, recollection, and penance, were united by such an intimate friendship, that these Latin words could be applied to them:

“Hi duo corporibus mentibus unus erant:” These are two bodies, but only one soul.

Their hearts were filled with zeal for the glory of God, and they laboured earnestly for the salvation of their neighbour, striving to observe their rule with the utmost perfection. Suddenly one of them fell ill, and caused great anxiety for his life. An angel of God appeared to him, and told him that he would die and would expiate in Purgatory the pain due to his faults until a Mass should be celebrated for him, and that then he would enter heaven to receive the reward of his zeal and fervour. These tidings filled the holy monk with joy, and, calling his friend, he related his vision, and told him of the death which would soon release him, and of the very short time he would have to remain in Purgatory, then he implored him, by the brotherly love which had united them, to offer up the holy Sacrifice as soon as possible after his death, so that he might soon enjoy eternal bliss, and, deeply affected by the thought of losing so dear a friend, he promised to fulfil his wish, and he was faithful to his word; for the monk dying the next morning, he had hardly closed his eyes, when he hastened to the sacristy to vest himself in the sacred ornaments, and offer up the holy sacrifice. Mass was hardly finished when during his thanksgiving his friend appeared to him, radiant with happiness, but still retaining a shade of sadness and suffering on his countenance. “Brother,” he said to him, “where then is your faith? How have you kept your promise? You deserve that God should have no more pity on you.” “And why?’’ he replied. “Why, have you not left me a year and more in the midst of that avenging fire without any of my brothers having said the Mass which would have delivered me. “What can you mean?’’ cried the religious. “I have but just taken off my sacerdotal vestments; you have left the earth but a short time ago; your funeral has not yet taken place, and your corpse is still amongst us.” Then his friend, looking at him, exclaimed, with a deep and mournful sigh: “Oh, how frightful, then, are those sufferings, since they have made me consider a short time a year. I thank you, brother, for your zeal in accomplishing this work of charity. I am going to heaven to bless God, and to implore of Him to return what you have done to me, so that we may one day be united in our eternal happiness as we have been in the days of suffering and warfare. I thank you again then, brother, and do you take courage.”

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.

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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 particular 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.


PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH FOR THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED.

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.

FOR A DECEASED PRIEST.

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.

FOR DECEASED PARENTS.

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.

FOR DECEASED RELATIVES AND FRIENDS.

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.

FOR DECEASED FOUNDERS AND BENEFACTORS.

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.

FOR A MAN OR WOMAN DECEASED.

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.

FOR ALL THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED.

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.

TO BE SAID IN A GRAVEYARD.

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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