Friday, December 31, 2010

Cardinal Arinze: What is Purgatory?

"In my infinite Wisdom I formed my Church: and do they know of what material? From the substance of love, and in all its fibers, and in all its arteries, and in all its dispositions, they will see love and only love. And consequently, I became man, to unite the divine and the human, and to bring to heaven souls WITHOUT DUST.

"Purgatory itself is Love."

~ Jesus to Venerable Concepcion Cabrera de Armida ~

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

St. Padre Pio: Spiritual Counsel

"Charity is the measure by which Our Lord judges all things."

"You ought to ask Our Lord for just one thing, to love Him.
All the rest should be thanksgiving."

~ St. Padre Pio ~

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Preparation for Eternal Life: Grateful, Attentive Love for Jesus in the Eucharist

“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying.
Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day.
Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now!
There are only so many tomorrows.”

~ Pope Paul VI  (1897-1978) ~

"On earth you simply do not know what God is. There, each one of you has an idea of what you think God is, according to your very limited knowledge, but when we leave our covering of clay and when nothing impedes the liberty of our souls, we at last begin to know God, His goodness, His mercy, His love. After this clearer view and the thirst for union, our souls yearn for God. This is our very life and we are forever repulsed because we are not sufficiently pure. This, in a word, is our worst suffering, the hardest, the most bitter. Oh, if only we were allowed to come back to earth, after knowing what God really is, what a different life we would lead! But what useless regrets, and yet on earth you do not think of these things and live as if you were blind. Eternity is of no account to you. The earth, which is only a journey and receives only the body which in itself turns to dust, is the sole object to which almost all of your desires tend and you do not even think of Heaven while Jesus and His love are entirely forgotten."

"On earth, people attach themselves to everything and everyone except to Him, who alone ought to have our love and to whom we refuse it. Jesus in the Tabernacle waits for souls to love Him and He finds none. Hardly one soul in a thousand loves Him as it should. You love Him and make up to Him for this guilty indifference which exists all over the world.

"But in Purgatory souls really love, do they not?

"Yes, but it is a love of reparation, and if on earth we had loved Him as we ought to have done, there would not be so many of us here in this place of expiation.

"Is Jesus well-loved in Heaven?

"In Heaven they love Him very much, there He is compensated. But Jesus wants more than that. He wants to be loved on earth, on that earth where He annihilates Himself in every Tabernacle, in order to be approached more easily and yet He is refused. People pass before a church with more indifference than they would before any public monument. If by chance, they go into the holy place, it is only to insult still more the Divine Captive who dwells there, namely, by their coldness and their irreverence. Their prayers are said hurriedly and without attention, instead of speaking to Him from their hearts and saying words of friendship and gratitude for all His favors to them."

~ Sr. M.G., a soul from Purgatory to Sr. M. de L.C: 
excerpts from An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory ~

Friday, December 17, 2010

St. Gertrude the Great: Offering Holy Communion for the Souls in Purgatory

 One day, after Communion, the Saint offered the Host which she had just received for the souls in Purgatory; and perceiving the great benefit they obtained thereby, she was amazed, and said to her Spouse: "My God, since I am obliged to declare for Thy glory that Thou dost honor me continually with Thy presence, or rather, that Thou abidest in my soul, unworthy as I am, how is it that Thou dost not work through me as Thou hast done today after I have received Thy adorable Body?" He replied: "It is not easy for everyone to approach a king who remains always in his palace; but when his love for his queen induces him to go forth, then all may behold, through her kindness, his pomp and magnificence; thus, when, moved by My love, I visit one of the faithful (who is free from mortal sin) in the Sacrament of the Altar, all who are in Heaven, on earth, or in Purgatory, receives immense benefits thereby."

On another occasion the Saint humbled herself deeply before approaching the Holy Communion, in honor and in imitation of the humility of the Son of God in descending into limbo. Then, uniting herself with His descent, she found herself descending to the very depths of Purgatory; and humbling herself still lower, she heard Our Lord say to her: "I will draw you to Me in the Sacrament of the Altar in such a manner that you will draw after you all those who shall perceive the odor of your desire."

Having received this promise from Our Lord, she desired after Communion this promise from Our Lord, she desired after Communion that He would release as many souls as she could divide the Host into particles in her mouth; but as she tried to effect this, He said to her: "In order that you may know that My mercy is above all My works, and that the abyss of My mercy cannot be exhausted, I am ready to grant you, through the merit of this life - giving Sacrament, more than you dare ask Me."

~ Excerpt from The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great ~

"If you make the intention,
God will accept whatever you do,
for all the souls in Purgatory,
just as if applied to one particular soul."

~ Revelation of a deceased nun, from An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory ~

Eternal Father, by virtue of your generosity and love, I ask that you accept all my actions and that you multiply their value in favour of every soul in Purgatory. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

~ Prayer from Prayers and Heavenly Promises, by Joan Carroll Cruz ~

Thursday, December 16, 2010

St. Alphonsus Liguori: Offering Holy Mass for Souls in Purgatory

"St. Augustine says that God will cause those who in this life have most succored those holy souls, when they come to purgatory themselves, to be most succored by others. l may here observe that, in practice, one of the best suffrages is to hear Mass for them, and during the Holy Sacrifice to recommend them to God by the merits and passion of Jesus Christ. The following form may be used:

'Eternal Father, I offer you this Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ,
with all the pains which He suffered in His life and death;
and by His passion I recommend to you the souls in purgatory,
and especially that of...' etc.

And it is a very charitable act to recommend, at the same time, the souls of all those who are at the point of death."

~ St. Alphonsus Liguori ~

Friday, December 10, 2010

St. Alphonsus Liguori: Fortunate Clients of Our Mother of Mercy

"The clients of this most merciful Mother are very fortunate. She helps them both in this life and in the next, consoling them and sponsoring their cause in Purgatory. For the simple reason that the Souls in Purgatory need help so desperately, since they cannot help themselves, our Mother of Mercy does so much more to relieve them. She exercises over these Poor Souls, who are the spouses of Christ, particular dominion, with power to relieve them and even deliver them from their pains. See how important it is then to have devotion to this good Lady, because she never forgets her servants as long as they suffer in these flames. If she helps all the Poor Souls, she is especially indulgent and consoling to her own clients."

~ Saint Alphonsus Liguori, excerpt from The Glories of Mary ~

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Call Upon Our Blessed Mother

"In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary.
Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart.
And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps.
With her for guide, you shall never go astray;
while invoking her, you shall never lose heart;
so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception;
while she holds your hand, you cannot fall;
under her protection you have nothing to fear;
if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary;
if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal."

~ Saint Bernard of Clairvaux,  Doctor of the Church ~

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Hard and Rugged Way to Spiritual Perfection

"Oh, if you only knew how paltry these little nothings are about which some make such a fuss. The devil makes use of these little straws to check the progress of a soul and obstruct all the good that she is called to do. Do not let yourself be caught in these meshes. Have a large heart and pass over all these little miseries without even noticing them. Jesus should be a sufficient attraction for you to prevent your being hindered by anything whatsoever outside of Him. See everything as coming from His bounty, whether He afflicts or consoles you. It is His love that arranges everything for the benefit of His friends. Never allow yourself to be discouraged. In a few hours, or even in the twinkling of an eye, Jesus could bring you to the summit of perfection which He desires for you. But no, He prefers your own efforts and He wants you to see for yourself how hard and rugged is the way to perfection."

~ Sr. M.G., a nun soul from Purgatory: excerpt from An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory ~ 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Archbishop Fulton Sheen: The Way to World Peace

"As God was physically formed in Mary, so He wills to be spiritually formed in you.
If you knew He was seeing through your eyes, you would see in everyone a child of God.
If you knew that He worked through your hands, they would bless all the day through...
If you knew that He wants to use your mind, your will, your fingers, and your heart,
how different you would be.
If half the world did this, there would be no war!"

~ Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, How to Find Christmas Peace ~

Friday, December 3, 2010

St. Francis Xavier and St. Therese: We Are All Called to Be Missionaries

"I'd like to travel all over the world, making Your Name known and planting Your Cross on heathen soil; only I shouldn't be content with one particular mission, I would want to be preach­ing the Gospel on all five continents and in the most distant islands, all at once. And even then it wouldn’t do, carrying on my mission for a limited number of years; I should want to have been a missionary ever since the creation, and go on being a missionary till the world came to an end."

~ St. Therese of Lisieux ~

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Word of God is Reality That Will Never Pass Away

"All things pass and pass quickly.
Do not fret so much about things that will end one day.
Aim at what will never end.
By our holy actions united to Jesus, let us embellish our heavenly throne.
Let us raise it up a few steps nearer to Him
whom we shall contemplate and love throughout eternity."

~ Sr. M.G., a nun soul from Purgatory:  excerpt from An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory ~

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

St. Padre Pio: "I Belong to Everyone."

“I belong to everyone. Everyone can say, ‘Padre Pio is mine’.
I love my exiled brothers very much.
I love my spiritual children as much as my own soul, and even more.
I have restored them to Jesus with pain and with love.
I can forget myself, but not my spiritual children,
and I assure you that, when the Lord calls me, I will say to Him:
‘Lord, I shall remain at the gates of Paradise;
I shall enter only when I have seen the last of my children enter’.”

~ St. Padre Pio ~

~ Previous post:  How to Become a Spiritual Child of St. Padre Pio

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent: Preparing for the Coming of Jesus at Christmas

In 1927 Jesus complained to Blessed Dina Belanger about Catholics doing little or no penance during Advent:
"I have need of reparation. The justice of My Father is enkindled. Offer to My Father My merits and My Blood to appease the arm of His Justice. How many Catholics concern themselves little or not at all with penance during the season of Advent! How many Catholics neglect to prepare for My coming at Christmas! Give Me your day, today, in spirit of atonement. Offer it also in Thanksgiving to My Father for all the graces He bestows on souls; for there are so many who never think of thanking Him."

Friday, November 26, 2010

Servant Girl is Rewarded for Having Monthly Mass Said for Souls in Purgatory

A poor servant girl in France named Jeanne Marie once heard a sermon on the Holy Souls which made an indelible impression on her mind. She was deeply moved by the thought of the intense and unceasing sufferings the Poor Souls endure, and she was horrified to see how cruelly they are neglected and forgotten by their friends on Earth.

Among other things the preacher stressed was that many souls who are in reality near to their release -- one Mass might suffice to set them free -- are oftentimes long detained; it may be for years, just because the last needful suffrage has been withheld or forgotten or neglected!

With her simple faith, Jeanne Marie resolved that, cost what it might, she would have a Mass said for the Poor Souls every month, especially for the soul nearest to Heaven. She earned little, and it was sometimes difficult to keep her promise, but she never failed.

On one occasion she went to Paris with her mistress and there fell ill, so that she was obliged to go to the hospital. Unfortunately, the illness proved to be a long one, and her mistress had to return home, hoping that her maid would soon rejoin her. When at last the poor servant was able to leave the hospital, all she had left of her scanty earnings was one franc!

What was she to do? Where to turn? Suddenly, the thought flashed across her mind that she had not had her usual monthly Mass offered for the Holy Souls. But she had only one franc! That was little enough to buy her food. Yet her confidence that the Holy Souls would not fail her triumphed. She made her way into a church and asked a priest, just about to say Mass, if he would offer it for the Holy Souls. He consented to do so, never dreaming that the modest alms offered was the only money the poor girl possessed. At the conclusion of the Holy Sacrifice, our heroine left the church. A wave of sadness clouded her face; she felt utterly bewildered.

A young gentleman, touched by her evident distress, asked her if she was in trouble and if he could help her. She told her story briefly, and ended by saying how much she desired work.

Somehow she felt consoled at the kind way in which the young man listened to what she said, and she fully recovered her confidence.

"I am delighted beyond measure, " he said, "to help you. I know a lady who is even now looking for a servant. Come with me. " And so saying he led her to a house not far distant and bade her ring the bell, assuring her that she would find work.

In answer to her ring, the lady of the house herself opened the door and inquired what Jeanne Marie required. "Madam, " she said, "I have been told that you are looking for a servant. I have no work and should be glad to get the position. "

The lady was amazed and replied: "Who could have told you that I needed a servant? It was only a few minutes ago that I had to dismiss my maid, and that at a moment's notice. You did not meet her?"

"No, Madam. The person who informed me that you required a servant was a young gentleman. "

"Impossible!" exclaimed the lady. "No young man, in fact no one at all, could have known that I needed a servant. "

"But Madam, " the girl answered excitedly, pointing to a picture on the wall, "that is the young man who told me!"

"Why, child, that is my only son, who has been dead for more than a year!"

"Dead or not, " asserted the girl with deep conviction in her voice, "it was he who told me to come to you, and he even led me to the door. See the scar over his eye; I would know him anywhere. "

Then followed the full story of how, with her last franc, she had had Mass offered for the Holy Souls, especially for the one nearest to Heaven.

Convinced at last of the truth of what Jeanne Marie had told her, the lady received her with open arms. "Come, " she said, "though not as my servant, but as my dear daughter. You have sent my darling boy to Heaven. I have no doubt that it was he who brought you to me. "

~ Excerpt from Read Me Or Rue It by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P. ~

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Msgr. Charles Pope: Holiness Is More Than Being Nice

"There is a place for niceness and ordinary human kindness. But the point is that holiness cannot be reduced to this. There are times where holiness demands that we speak out strongly and unambiguously. True holiness will lead us increasingly to live in a way that others will often find an irritant. Perhaps our radical simplicity and generosity will prick their conscience. Perhaps our deep devotion to God will cause them to feel uneasy. Perhaps our moral positions will offend their politics or worldly ethics. Our mentioning of a day of judgment that looms may incite their anger. And so forth…. We do not seek conflict, but conflict finds us. The world demands that we back down and be nice, that we get along better.

"Holiness is not of this world. True holiness brings an increasingly radical transformation that makes the recipient seem to be a foreigner in this world who speaks with a strange accent and has foreign ways. He does not fit into simple political distinctions, does not conform to worldly categories. True holiness ignites a fire in the recipient and fire changes everything it touches. In the end no one remains neutral to a truly holy person. Either they complain of the heat or draw warmth, but no one is neutral."

~ Msgr. Charles Pope:  excerpt from here ~

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Public Honor and Obedience Owed to Christ the King

32. Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for his kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education.
33. The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.

~ Excerpt from QUAS PRIMAS

Friday, November 19, 2010

Litany of Our Lady of Montligeon Liberator and Gate of Heaven


Lord, have mercy on our departed brothers and sisters,
especially those in most need of your mercy.

Christ, have mercy on our departed brothers and sisters.,
especially those in most need of your mercy.

Lord, have mercy on our departed brothers and sisters,
especially those in most need of your mercy.

Mary, daughter of the Eternal Father, 
help our departed brothers and sisters.
Mary, mother of the Saviour of Mankind,
Mary, temple of the Holy Spirit,
Mary, chosen by God from all eternity,
Mary, sung by the Prophets,
Mary, dawn of the Sun of Justice,
Mary, born without original sin,
Mary, whose body never knew the corruption of the tomb,
Mary, whom Jesus clothed with His glory,
Mary, whose throne is near that of Jesus.
Mary, Queen of the Angels,
Mary, Queen of all Saints,
Mary, Queen of Heaven and earth,
Mary, dispenser of God’s graces,
Mary, pledge of salvation for those who invoke you,
Mary, whose name inspires confidence,
Mary, whose hand is always blessing,
Mary, reflection of Jesus’ heart,
Mary. model of faith and humility,
Mary, model of the interior life,
Mary, model of submission to God’s will
Mary, model of all virtues.
Mary, honour of mankind.
Mary, who watches over us in all our needs.
Mary, who snatched away the infant Jesus
from Herod’s fury.
Mary, who shared the sufferings of the
Redeemer of mankind.
Mary, who followed Jesus up to Calvary.
Mary, who offered Jesus for our salvation.
Mary, whose heart was pierced by a sword.

Virgin, full of compassion.
Mediatrix of peace between God and men.
Our advocate near God.
Source of life.
Safety of orphans.
Haven of sinners.
Help of the dying.
Hope of the desperate.
Gate of Heaven.
Providence of the unfortunate.
Consolation of the afflicted.
Our Lady of Consolation,
Our Lady of Mercy,
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour,
Our Lady the Liberator,
Our Lady of Hope,
Our Lady of Montligeon.

Verse :
Our Lady of Montligeon, come to the aid of our departed brothers and sisters.

Response :
So that they may be made worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

~  From Our Lady of Montligeon Shrine website 2/2/2006 ~

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Msgr. Charles Pope: Are You Ready to Die?

"While you are still on earth, it is impossible to understand what God demands of a soul expiating its sins in Purgatory. You are under the impression that many prayers, well said, will place a soul almost at once in possession of eternal happiness. It is nothing of the kind. Who can fathom the judgments of God? Who can understand how pure a soul must be before He admits it to share His eternal happiness? Alas, if people only knew, if they would only consider it while still on earth, what different lives they would lead!"

~ Sr. M.G, a soul from Purgatory:  excerpt from An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory~

"Not only do modern people think little of death, but even less do we think of the judgment to follow. The Book of Hebrews says, It is appointed to man to die once, and after this the judgment (Heb 9:27). Even Church-going Catholic largely pass over any notion of judgment after death. This is most evident at Catholic funerals which are dominated by gleeful canonizations of the deceased and never a mention of jjudgment or the need to pray for the one who has died. Our neglect to pray for the dead is a terrible dereliction of duty."

"Hence we must live our lives in readiness. Our central priorities must be prayer, the reading of Scripture and other spiritual works, devotion to the Sacraments, holy fellowship and weekly Mass. We must repent of serious sins and seek seriously to grow in holiness. Scripture says that we must Strive for peace with all men, and that holiness: without which no one shall see God (Heb 12:14). Some of us have to bury the hatchet and offer forgiveness to others for the Lord warns sternly, If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matt 6:15) and James also warns: Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful (James 2:13). We cannot go on living in presumption that the judgment we face is of little account for Scripture gives no basis for such a casual attitude. Neither should we despair for God is rich in mercy and does not spurn those who are humble and contrite. Perhaps the best approach is simply to have a kind of sobriety about the fact that we will all face judgment and to thoughtfully prepare for it.

"A word about the nature of judgment we face. None of us can say for sure what that moment will be like. However it would seem that the key word to describe what must go on is “honesty.” In that moment, before the Lord, all masks will be removed. All the little excusing lies we like to tell ourselves will be set aside. We will see ourselves as we really are. Perhaps too we will also see more clearly some of the grief and trouble we have been carrying and have a truth compassion for our self even as we have a sober understanding of our faults and incompleteness. For a true believer the judgment is not simply between heaven and hell, but even more so, an assessment of what remains incomplete in us. The Lord promised us perfection (Matt 5:48) and St. Paul wrote: May God who has begun a good work in you bring it to completion (Phil 1:6). Hence our judgment must also certainly include the question of what, if anything, remains incomplete in us. For it is impossible that a promise of God would remain incomplete for us or anything be less than perfect. Whatever is judged to be incomplete or imperfect is set right in purgatory which is for us not against us."

~ Msgr. Charles Pope:  excerpt from here--worthwhile reading. ~

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

St. Gertrude the Great: Revelation on a Soul's Purification in Purgatory

As Gertrude prayed for the repose of the soul of Brother Hermann, a lay brother lately deceased, she inquired what his state was; and Our Lord replied: He is now present, and I have granted himthis favor in return for earnest prayers which have been made for him - I have invited him to assist at this feast. Then she saw Our Lord, as the father of a family, seated at a table, on which were placed all the prayers, oblations, desires, ect., which had been offered for this brother. The soul stood sad and dejected at one end of the table, for he was not yet sufficiently purified to behold the loving countenance of Our Lord; but he soon appeared exceedingly refreshed and comforted by what he beheld before him.

The saint observed with some surprise that the effect of these offerings came to him directly from the offerings themselves, and not as usual from Our Lord, who generally appeared to her to present the souls with the offerings made for them with great joy; but Our Lord sometimes, of His own goodness and in consideration of the merits of those who prayed for him, gave him some consolation Himself, which imparted great satisfaction to the soul.

The Blessed Virgin sat as queen beside her Divine Son, and appeared also to place some gifts on the table, as a reward for the particular devotion which this soul had for her when on earth. The Saints to whom he had been devout also made offerings for him; and by these things, and the earnest love with which they were presented before God, the countenance of the brother became hourly more serene and joyful, and he slowly raised his eyes to gaze upon that blessed Light, which when It is once beheld, imparts eternal joy, and causes all former sorrow to be forgotten.

"But", she continued, "what advantage do you gain from our desire to give you the merit of all the good works which God enables us to perform?" He answered "They are of great utility to me, for they adorn my soul." St Gertrude replied: "But if any person deferred the prayer which they proposed to offer for you on account of sickness, would you suffer from it?" The soul answered: "Delays, which are the result of prudence , do not harm us unless they are caused by negligence." She continued:"Were you nit injured by our prayers during your sickness, as we asked more earnestly for your recovery than for the grace of a happy death? The soul replied: "This did not harm me, for I discovered therein the immense goodness of God, whose tender mercies are over all His works (Ps 144:9), as He was moved to do me even more good from beholding your affection for me". "But will tears shed for you through human affection do you harm?" he answered: "These tears are to me as the kindness of a friend who consoles his friend when in affliction. And when I am in enjoyment of perfect happiness, it will give me as much joy as the congratulations by my faithfulness in your service, which has gained your affection for me."
As Gertrude observed that the soul still continued in the same position, she said to him: "For what fault have you suffered most?" He replied: "For self will and self opinionatedness; for when I did any kindness for others I would not do as they wished, but as I wished myself; and so much do I suffer for this, that if the mental agonies of all mankind were united in one person, he would not endure more more than I do at present." She replied: "And what remedy will be most efficacious for you?" He answered: "To perform acts of the contrary virtue, and to avoid committing the same fault." "But in the meantime, inquired Gertrude ", what will afford you the greatest relief?" He replied: "The fidelity which I practiced toward others when on earth consoles me most. The prayers which are offered continually for me by my friends solace me as good news would solace a person in affliction. each tone of the chant at Mass, or in the vigils which are said for me, seem to me as a most delicious reflection. All that is done for me by others, with a pure intention for God's glory, such as working, and even sleeping or eating, affords me great relief and shortens my sufferings, on account of fidelity with which I labored for others."

On another occasion, when St. Gertrude recited the Pater noster for the same soul, she observed, to her extreme surprise, that his sufferings appeared greatly increased when she repeated the words: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us". As she inquired the reason of this suffering, he replied: "When I was in the world, I offended God frequently by my unwillingness to forgive those who injured me in any way; and even when I had forgiven them I showed my resentment by a grave manner when I met them; and I suffer for this when ever these words are repeated for me." "And how long will you suffer thus?" inquired the Saint, The soul replied: "I shall suffer until I am entirely purified; but henceforth, by the mercy of God, whenever you say this prayer for me, I shall retain great relief thereby."

When Mass was offered for this soul, he appeared radiant with light and transported with joy. Then Gertrude said to Our Lord;"Is this soul now entirely freed from its sufferings?" Our Lord answered: He is already freed from much suffering, and no human being can form an idea of his glory; but he is not yet so perfectly purified as to be worthy to enjoy My presence, though He is approaching nearer and nearer to this purity by the prayers which are offered for him and he is more consoled and relieved. He added: His obstinacy in following his own will, and his disinclination to submit to the will of others, have prevented him from obtaining relief from your prayers as speedily as he would otherwise have done.

~ Excerpt from The Life and Revelations of Saint Gertrude the Great ~

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fr. Samuel Medley: Lessons From the Souls in Purgatory

"Could you pass by a terribly suffering soul?
Offer the merits of Christ for souls
that they may pass through final purgation and enter eternal life."

~ Fr. Samuel Medley ~

Fr. Samuel Medley's homily:  Heart of Christ: Refuge of Souls in Purgatory

Fr. Medley's excellent homilies and links to his other sites are at Magnificat Anima Mea Domino.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ven. Mother Frances of the Blessed Sacrament: Friend of the Souls in Purgatory

Venerable Mother Frances of the Blessed Sacrament  had from her infancy the greatest devotion towards the suffering souls, and persevered therein as long as she lived. She was all heart, all devotion towards those poor and holy souls. To assist them she daily recited her Rosary, which she was accustomed to call her almoner, and she ended each decade with the Requiescant in pace. On feast-days, when she had more free time, she added the Office of the Dead. To prayer she joined penances, The greater part of the year she fasted on bread and water, and on vigils she practised other austerities. She had to endure much labour and fatigue, pain and persecution. All these works were turned into profit for the holy souls, Frances offering all to God for their relief.

Not content with assisting them herself as far as was in her power, she engaged others to do the same. If priests came to the convent, she begged for Masses for them ; if they were laymen, she advised them to distribute abundant alms for the faithful departed. In recompense for her charity, God frequently permitted the souls to visit her, either to solicit her suffrages or to return her thanks. Witnesses have testified that several times they visibly waited for her at the door when she was going to the Office of Matins, that they might recommend themselves to her prayers. At other times they entered her cell in order to present their request to her; they surrounded her bed, waiting until she awoke. These apparitions, to which she was accustomed, caused her no fear, and that she might not think herself the sport of a dream or a dupe of the devil, they said on entering, " Hail, servant of God, spouse of the Lord ! may Jesus Christ be ever with you !" Then they testified their veneration for a large cross and the relics of the saints which their benefactress kept in her cell. If they found her reciting the Rosary, add the same witnesses, they took her hands and kissed them lovingly, as the instrument of their deliverance.

~ Excerpt from Purgatory:   illustrated by the lives and legends of the saints by Fr. F.X. Shouppe, S.J. ~

Friday, November 12, 2010

Blessed are Those Who are Merciful to the Poor Souls in Purgatory


The Holy Souls whom we relieve or release by our Masses and good works pray for us with such indescribable fervour that God cannot refuse to hear their prayers. One of the principal graces they ask for their friends is that these shall have little or no Purgatory. No one knows better than they the awful intensity of the Purgatorial flames; no one, therefore, can pray for us as they do. Let us remember that:

a) God thanks as done to Himself what we do to others. When we relieve or release any of the Holy Souls, we relieve or release, as it were, God Himself. How ready, therefore, will He not be to hear the prayers offered by these souls for us.

b) Our Blessed Lord lays down clearly the great law: "By that measure by which you measure, it will be measured to you again" In proportion, consequently, to our generosity towards the Holy Souls will God's mercy and generosity be towards us. Those who work heart and soul for the relief of the Holy Souls may thus well hope that their Purgatory will be entirely remitted, or notably lessened. On the other hand, those who neglect the Holy Souls may justly fear a severe judgment and a long Purgatory.

~ Excerpt from How to Avoid Purgatory by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan ~

Monday, November 8, 2010

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity: How Saints Are Made

“Let us live with God as with a Friend. Let us make our faith a living thing, so as to remain in communion with Him through everything. That is how saints are made. We carry our heaven within us, since He who completely satisfies every longing of the glorified souls in the light of the Beatific Vision, is giving Himself to us in faith and mystery. It is the same thing. It seems to me I have found my heaven on earth, since heaven is God and God is in my soul. The day I understood that, everything became clear to me, and I wish I could whisper this secret to those I love in order that they also might cling closely to God through everything." 
~ Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity ~

Sunday, November 7, 2010

St. Josemaria Escriva: "Heaven Awaits Us"

"If at any time you feel uneasy at the thought of our sister death because you see yourself to be such a poor creature, take heart. Heaven awaits us. And consider: what will it be like when all the infinite beauty and greatness, and happiness and Love of God will be poured into the poor clay vessel that the human being is, to satisfy it eternally with the freshness of an ever new joy?"
~ St. Josemaria Escriva, excerpt from Furrow, 891 ~

Pope John Paul II: Prayer Gives Us Strenth and Light

"Prayer gives us strength for great ideals,
for keeping up our faith, charity, purity, generosity;
prayer gives us strength to rise up from indifference and guilt,
if we have had the misfortune to give in to temptation and weakness.
 Prayer gives us light by which to see and to judge from God's perspective and from eternity.
That is why you must not give up on praying!"

~ Pope John Paul II ~ 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pope Pius IX Credits Souls in Purgatory for His Good Memory


The venerable Pontiff, Pius IX, appointed a holy and prudent religious named Padre Tomaso to be bishop of a diocese. The priest, alarmed at the responsibility put upon him, begged earnestly to be excused.

His protests were in vain. The Holy Father knew his merits.

Overcome with apprehension, the humble religious solicited an audience with the Pope, who received him most graciously. Once more he pleaded earnestly to be excused, but the Pope was immovable.

As a last recourse, Padre Tomaso told the Holy Father that he had a very bad memory, which would naturally prove to be a grave impediment in the high office put upon him.

Pius IX answered with a smile: "Your diocese is very small in comparison with the Universal Church, which I carry on my shoulders. Your cares will be very light in comparison with mine.

"I, too, suffered from a grave defect of memory, but I promised to say a fervent prayer daily for the Holy Souls, who, in return, have obtained for me an excellent memory. Do you likewise, Dear Father, and you will have cause to rejoice. "

~ Excerpt from Read Me or Rue It by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P. (E.D.M.) ~

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI: Believers Are Pilgrims on Their Way Towards Eternity

"The month of November draws its special spiritual tone from the two days with which it opens: the Solemnity of All Saints and the Commemoration of all the faithful departed. The mystery of the communion of saints illumines this month and the whole of the last part of the liturgical year in particular, directing our meditation to the earthly destiny of man in the light of Christ's Pasch. In it is founded that hope which, as St Paul said, is such that it "will not leave us disappointed" (cf. Rom 5: 5)."

"The great family of the Church finds in these days a time of grace and lives them, in accordance with her vocation, gathered closely around the Lord in prayer and offering his redeeming Sacrifice for the repose of the deceased faithful."

~ Pope Benedict XVI:  Excerpts from Homily at Mass for Deceased Cardinals and Bishops, 2005 ~

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Souls in Purgatory Benefit from the Public Prayers of the Church on All Souls Day

"Does All Souls' Day and its octave bring great joy to Purgatory and many releases?"

"On All Souls' Day many souls leave the place of expiation and go to Heaven. Also, by a special grace of God on that day only, all the suffering souls, without exception, have a share in the public prayers of the Church, even those who are in the great Purgatory. Still the relief of each soul is in proportion to its merits. Some receive more, some less, but all feel the benefit of this extraordinary grace. Many of the suffering souls receive this one help only in all the long years they pass here and this by the justice of God. It is not, however, on All Souls' Day that the most go to Heaven. It is on Christmas night."

~ Sr. M. de L.C. asks a question of Sr. M.G., a soul from Purgatory:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI: "Love Can Reach Into the Afterlife"

"The belief that love can reach into the afterlife, that reciprocal giving and receiving is possible, in which our affection for one another continues beyond the limits of death—this has been a fundamental conviction of Christianity throughout the ages and it remains a source of comfort today. Who would not feel the need to convey to their departed loved ones a sign of kindness, a gesture of gratitude or even a request for pardon? Now a further question arises: if “Purgatory” is simply purification through fire in the encounter with the Lord, Judge and Saviour, how can a third person intervene, even if he or she is particularly close to the other? When we ask such a question, we should recall that no man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine: in what I think, say, do and achieve. And conversely, my life spills over into that of others: for better and for worse. So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death. In the interconnectedness of Being, my gratitude to the other—my prayer for him—can play a small part in his purification. And for that there is no need to convert earthly time into God's time: in the communion of souls simple terrestrial time is superseded. It is never too late to touch the heart of another, nor is it ever in vain. In this way we further clarify an important element of the Christian concept of hope. Our hope is always essentially also hope for others; only thus is it truly hope for me too. As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: how can I save myself? We should also ask: what can I do in order that others may be saved and that for them too the star of hope may rise? Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well."

~ Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi ~

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta: "All of Us Must be Saints"

"All of us must be saints in this world.
Holiness is a duty for you and me.
So let's be saints and so give glory to the Father."

~ Blessed Teresa of Calcutta ~

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Indulgences for Souls in Purgatory

1.  A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who,
 1.  on any and each day from November 1 to 8, devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only    mentally, for the departed;
2.  on All Souls' Day (or, according to the judgment of the ordinary, on the Sunday preceding or following it, or on the solemnity of All Saints), devoutly visit a church or an oratory and recite an Our Father and the Creed.
2.  A partial indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who
1.  devoutly visit a cemetery and at least mentally pray for the dead;
2.  devoutly recite lauds or vespers from the Office of the Dead or the prayer Eternal rest.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May they rest in peace.  (Order of Christian Funerals)

~  From EWTN:  General Conditions for Receiving Indulgences ~ 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

St. Jean Vianney: Value of Offering Jesus and His Merits to the Eternal Father

My children, you remember the story I have told you already of that holy priest who was praying for his friend; God had, it appears, made known to him that he was in Purgatory; it came into his mind that he could do nothing better than to offer the holy Sacrifice of the Mass for his soul. When he came to the moment of Consecration, he took the Host in his hands and said, "O Holy and Eternal Father, let us make an exchange. You have the soul of my friend who is in Purgatory, and I have the Body of Your Son, Who is in my hands; well, deliver my friend, and I will offer You Your Son, with all the merits of His Death and Passion." In fact, at the moment of the elevation, he saw the soul of his friend rising to Heaven, all radiant with glory. Well, my children, when we want to obtain anything from the good God, let us do the same; after Holy Communion, let us offer Him His well-beloved Son, with all the merits of His death and His Passion. He will not be able to refuse us anything.

~ St. Jean Vianney ~

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Resurrection Reminders

“Of all the things of life, a happy death is our principal concern.
For if we attain that, it matters little if we lose all the rest.
But if we do not attain that, nothing else is of any value.”

~ Blessed Junipero Serra ~

Monday, October 25, 2010

St. Francis of Assisi: Eternal Consequences of Dying in Unrepented Mortal Sin

"We should all realize that no matter where or how a man dies,
if he is in the state of mortal sin and does not repent,
 when he could have done so and did not,
the Devil tears his soul from his body with such anguish and distress
 that only a person who has experienced it can appreciate it. "
~ St. Francis of Assisi ~

~ Is It a Mortal Sin to Miss Mass on Sunday? ~
~ Is Missing Sunday Mass a Mortal Sin? ~

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Grateful Intercession of Souls in Purgatory for Their Friends


The celebrated printer of Cologne, William Freyssen, gives us the following account of how his child and wife were restored to health by the Holy Souls.

William Freyssen got the order to print a little work on Purgatory. When he was correcting the proofs, his attention was caught by the facts narrated in the book. He learned for the first time what wonders the Holy Souls can work for their friends.

Just at that time his son fell grievously ill, and soon the case became desperate. Remembering what he had read about the power of the Holy Souls, Freyssen at once promised to spread, at his own expense, a hundred copies of the book which his firm was printing. To make the promise more solemn, he went to the church and there made his vow. At once a sense of peace and confidence filled his soul. On his return home, the boy, who had been unable to swallow a drop of water, asked for food. Next day he was out of danger and soon completely cured.

At once, Freyssen ordered the books on Purgatory to be distributed, feeling sure that it was the best way to obtain help for the suffering souls, by interesting a hundred people in them. No one who knows what the Poor Souls suffer can refuse to pray for them.

Time passed, and a new sorrow fell to the share of the printer. This time his dear wife was stricken down and, despite every care, grew daily worse. She lost the use of her mind and was almost completely paralyzed, so that the doctor gave up all hope.

The husband, bethinking him of what the Holy Souls had done for his boy, again ran to the church and promised to distribute 200 of the books on Purgatory, begging in exchange the urgent succor of the Holy Souls.

Wonderful to relate, the mental aberration ceased, his wife's mind became normal, and she recovered the use of her limbs and of her tongue. In a short time she was perfectly restored to health.

~ Excerpt from Read Me Or Rue It by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P. ~

Friday, October 22, 2010

St. Catherine of Genoa: Reproaches to Persons in This World

And thus this blessed Soul, illuminated by the divine ray, said: “Would that I could utter so
strong a cry that it would strike all men with terror, and say to them: O wretched beings! why are
you so blinded by this world that you make, as you will find at the hour of death, no provision for
the great necessity that will then come upon you?

“You shelter yourselves beneath your hope in the mercy of God, which you unceasingly exalt,
not seeing that it is your resistance to His great goodness which will be your condemnation. His
goodness should constrain you to His will, not encourage you to persevere in your own. Since His
justice is unfailing it must needs be in some way fully satisfied.

“Have not the boldness to say: ‘I will go to confession and gain a plenary indulgence and thus
I shall be saved.’ Remember that the full confession and entire contrition which are requisite to
gain a plenary indulgence are not easily attained. Did you know how hardly they are come by, you
would tremble with fear and be more sure of losing than of gaining them."

~ Excerpt from Treatise on Purgatory by St. Catherine of Genoa ~

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

St. Paul of the Cross: The Perfecting of a Soul

"Fancy a sculptor who sends for a piece of wood which he wishes to form into a fine statue. The wood-choppers carry to his shop a rough and shapeless log. The sculptor begins to smooth it down, using first the hatchet, then the saw, afterwards the plane, and finally the chisel. What does the wood do ? Does it make any resistance ? No, it allows itself to be worked upon until it becomes a beautiful statue.

"Thus acts the Divine Artist. With a view of freeing the soul from her imperfections and, as it were, of polishing her, He permits the demons to torment her by temptations, and then He tries her by means of aridities and desolations. If she bears these trials with patience and longanimity, she perfects herself and becomes a very beautiful statue, worthy of a place in the art gallery of heaven."

~ St. Paul of the Cross ~

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sweet Heart of Jesus, Make Us Love Thee More and More

Every morning on awakening say to your Beloved: "My Jesus, I am ready to accomplish Your Will — what do You want me to do to please you today?" Perform all your exercises of piety with great love in the presence of Jesus. You can do good for souls only in proportion as you are united to God. God is seeking for souls to repair the outrages which He receives; souls that love Him and make Him loved by others. He wants you to be of this number.

~ Sr. M.G., a deceased nun, excerpt from An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory ~

Sweet Heart of Jesus, fount of love and mercy,
today we come, Thy blessing to implore;
O touch our hearts, so cold and so ungrateful,
and make them, Lord, thine own forevermore.

Sweet Heart of Jesus, we implore,
O make us love Thee more and more.

Sweet Heart of Jesus, make us pure and gentle,
and teach us how to do Thy blessed will;
to follow close the print of Thy dear footsteps,
and when we fall - sweet Heart, oh, love us still.

Sweet Heart of Jesus, we implore,
O make us love Thee more and more.

Sweet Heart of Jesus, bless all hearts that love Thee,
and may thine own Heart ever blessed be,
bless us, dear Lord, and bless the friends we cherish,
and keep us true to Mary and to Thee.

Sweet Heart of Jesus, we implore,
O make us love Thee more and more,
O make us love Thee more and more.

Monday, October 18, 2010

St. Andre Bessette: A Model of Humility, Kindness and Compassion

In 1870, Alfred presented himself as a candidate in the novitiate of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Montréal. Because of his weak health, his superiors had doubts concerning his religious vocation. However, these reservations were soon put aside as he was finally accepted and given the name of Brother André with the responsibility of porter at Notre-Dame College. While talking about his early duties at the college, brother André was found to say: ‘’When I entered the community, my superiors showed me the door, and I remained there for 40 years without leaving.’’ On top of his porter duties, his daily tasks consisted of washing floors and windows, cleaning lamps, carrying firewood and working as a messenger.

 Soon, Brother André started to welcome the sick and broken-hearted. He invited them to pray to Saint Joseph to obtain favours. It was not long before many people were reporting that their prayers were being answered. For twenty-five years, he spent six to eight hours a day receiving those who came to him, first in his small office, then in the tramway station across the street from the college. He built the first chapel with the help of friends and with the money he earned giving haircuts to the students of the college, he had the certitude that Saint Joseph wanted to have a place on the mountain: thus, he spent his whole life preparing a beautiful shrine worthy of his friend.

Bother André began visiting the sick in the area and travelled as far as the United States where he had made friends. He earned the reputation of miracle-worker, but he vehemently protested such a title: ‘’I am nothing… only a tool in the hands of Providence, a lowly instrument at the service of Saint Joseph’’. He went even further by affirming: ‘’People are silly to think that I can accomplish miracles! It is God and Saint Joseph who can heal you, not I. I will pray Saint Joseph for you.’’

Brother André took great care in meeting and greeting people. He spent long hours in his office where thousands of people came to see him and, in the evenings, he visited homes or hospitals accompanied by one of his friends.

His kindness and compassion were matched by a remarkable sharpness of mind. He would make the following comment concerning the numerous requests for healings he received: ‘’It is surprising that I am frequently asked for cures, but rarely for humility and the spirit of faith. Yet, they are so important…’’adding. ‘’If the soul is sick, one must begin by treating the soul.‘’ Consequently, he would often ask the people consulting him questions such as, ‘’Do you have faith?’’ ‘’Do you believe that God can do something for you?’’ Then, before doing anything else, he would tell them, ‘’Go confess yourself to the priest, go to Holy Communion and then come back to see me.’’ Indeed, Brother André had a true understanding of the sense and the value of suffering, and he spoke with wisdom when addressing this subject: ‘’People who suffer have something to offer to God. When they succeed in enduring their suffering that is a daily miracle!”

~ Excerpts from here ~

On January 6, 1937, the death of a humble doorkeeper for a boys’ college drew over a million people to Montreal. For 40 years, Brother André Bessette of the Congregation of Holy Cross welcomed people at the door and became known as a miraculous healer. God’s Doorkeeper looks at the heart and legacy of Brother André — as a man of prayer, of hospitality, and of compassion; a man who draws people in to experience a God who is love. On October 17, 2010, Br. André became the first male Canadian-born saint and the first saint for the Congregation of Holy Cross. He is living proof that “it is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most beautiful pictures.”

Featuring interviews from Montreal, Rome, and different part of the United States — with people who knew him and others who continue Br. André’s work today. Also includes footage of the beatification and canonization ceremonies in Rome and the celebrations in Montreal, as well as a commentary by Fr. Thomas Rosica CSB on the perennial relevance of Br. André.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque: Showing Love for Jesus by Love of Neighbor

"While at prayer, I begged our Lord to make known to me by what means I could satisfy the desire that I had to love Him. He gave me to understand that one cannot better show one's love for Him than by loving one's neighbor for love of Him; and that I must work for the salvation of others, forgetting my own interests in order to espouse those of my neighbor, both in my prayers and in all the good I might be able to do by the mercy of God. . . . Our Lord wishes us to have great charity for our neighbor, for whom we should pray as for ourselves; it is one of the characteristic effects of this devotion to reconcile hearts and to bring peace to souls."
"In order to be like You, who are always alone in the Blessed Sacrament, I shall love solitude and try to converse with You as much as possible. Grant that my mind may not seek to know anything but You, that my heart may have no longings or desires but to love You. When I am obliged to take some comfort, I shall take care to see that it be pleasing to Your Heart. In my conversations, O divine Word, I shall consecrate all my words to You so that You will not permit me to pronounce a single one which is not for Your glory.... When I am thirsty, I shall endure it in honor of the thirst You endured for the salvation of souls.... If by chance, I commit some fault, I shall humble myself, and then take the opposite virtue from Your Heart, offering it to the eternal Father in expiation for my failure. All this I intend to do, O Eucharistic Jesus, to unite myself to You in every action of the day."
~ Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque ~

~ Previous posts on St. Margaret Mary ~