Saturday, December 19, 2009

Love Reaches Souls in Purgatory

The Holy Souls in Purgatory are unutterably dear to God, because of all the graces and merits they have won and can never lose, and because of the keen sufferings which they are bearing with such heavenly patience in their love of Him, and their desire to be more worthy of Him. The Virgin Mother watches with a mother’s holy anxiety while the last faint traces and shades of sin fade off from each beautiful soul, longing for the moment when all shall be paid, and these her dear children received into their long-expected happiness. St. Joseph, the particular patron of these patient holy ones, is eagerly looking forward to the moment when he may bear his charges into the Father’s bosom.

And think you that God and Our Lady and St. Joseph will not love and bless those who by their holy liberality shall hasten that moment which they all so earnestly desire? And when those benefactors shall send their petitions through Purgatory and some dear sufferer shall cry to Heaven, “Grant them what they ask for, for they have done great things for us,” can you think the prayer will be unheard? See what St. Catherine of Bologna used to say on this subject. “When I wish,” she said, “to obtain some favor from the Eternal Father, I invoke the souls in their place of expiation, and charge them with the petition I have to make to Him, and I feel I am heard through their means.” This ought to be a great encouragement to us, and doubtless it will be. It is such an easy way of pleasing God and winning blessings for ourselves to make little compacts with the suffering souls that we will daily perform some indulgenced exercise for their relief, and that they in return will forward our particular intentions.

Prayer for the Holy Souls is a most fruitful devotion for all, but especially for those who have lost some dear relation, some friend, or someone in whom they took an intense interest, and who they conjecture may still be detained in the purifying fire. Let me give a few words from the third of Lady Georgiana Fullerton’s letters about the “Helpers of the Holy Souls,” which relate to this subject: “Amongst the Helpers of the Holy Souls,” she writes, “several have made great sacrifices to God in order to obtain mercy for souls long ago called away from this world. We can all imitate their example. ‘Oh, if it were not too late!’ is the cry of many a heart tortured by anxiety regarding the fate of some loved one who died apparently out of the Church, or not in the state of grace. We answer: It is never too late. Pray, work, suffer. The Lord foresaw your efforts. The Lord knew what was to come, and may have given to that soul at its last hour some extraordinary graces which snatched it from destruction and placed it in safety, where your love may still reach it, your prayers relieve, your sacrifices avail.”

~ Excerpts from Stories About Purgatory, Tan Publishers ~

No comments: