Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Reparation Needed for Causing Scandal

Those who have had the misfortune to give bad example, and to wound or cause the perdition of souls by scandal, must take care to repair all in this world, if they would not be subjected to the most terrible expiation in the other. It was not in vain that Jesus Christ cried out, “Woe to the world because of scandals! Woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh!” (St. Matthew 18:7)

Hear what Father Rossignoli relates in his Merveilles du Purgatoire. (Merv., 24). A painter of great skill and otherwise exemplary life had once made a painting not at all conformable to the strict rules of Christian modesty. It was one of those paintings which, under the pretext of being works of art, are found in the best families, and the sight of which causes the loss of so many souls.

True art is an inspiration from Heaven, which elevates the soul to God: profane art, which appeals to the senses only, which presents to the eye nothing but the beauties of flesh and blood, is but an inspiration of the evil spirit; his works, brilliant though they may be, are not works of art, and the name is falsely attributed to them. They are the infamous productions of a corrupt imagination.

The artist of whom we speak had allowed himself to be misled in this point by bad example. Soon, however, renouncing this pernicious style, he confined himself to the production of religious pictures, or at least of those which were perfectly irreproachable. Finally he was painting a large picture in the convent of the discalced Carmelites, when he was attacked by a mortal malady. Feeling that he was about to die, he asked the Prior to allow him to be interred in the church of the monastery and bequeathed to the community his earnings, which amounted to a considerable sum of money, charging them to have Masses said for the repose of his soul. He died in pious sentiments, and a few days passed, when a Religious who had stayed in the choir after Matins saw him appear in the midst of flames and sighing piteously.

“What!” said the Religious, “have you to endure such pain, after leading so good a life and dying so holy a death?” “Alas!” replied he, “it is on account of the immodest picture that I painted some years ago. When I appeared before the Tribunal of the Sovereign Judge, a crowed of accusers came to give evidence against me. They declared that they had been excited to improper thoughts and evil desires by a picture, the work of my hand. In consequence of those bad thoughts some were in Purgatory, others in Hell. The latter cried for vengeance, saying that, having been the cause of their eternal perdition, I deserved, at least, the same punishment. Then the Blessed Virgin and the Saints whom I had glorified by my pictures took up my defence. They represented to the Judge that that unfortunate painting had been the work of youth, and of which I had repented; that I had repaired it afterwards by religious objects which had been a source of edification to souls.

“In consideration of these and other reasons, the Sovereign Judge declared that, on account of my repentance and my good works, I should be exempt from damnation, but at the same time, He condemned me to these flames until that picture should be burned, so that it could no longer scandalize anyone.”

Then the poor sufferer implored the Religious to take measures to have the painting destroyed. “I beg of you,” he added, “go in my name to such a person, proprietor of the picture; tell him in what a condition I am for having yielded to his entreaties to paint it, and conjure him to make a sacrifice of it. If he refuses, woe to him! To prove that this is not an illusion, and to punish him for his own fault, tell him that before long he will loose his two children. Should he refuse to obey Him who has created us both, he will pay for it by a premature death.”

The Religious delayed not to do what the poor soul asked of him, and went to the owner of the picture. The latter, on hearing these things, seized the painting and cast it into the fire. Nevertheless, according to the words of the deceased, he lost his two children in less than a month. The remainder of his days he passed in penance, for having ordered and kept that immodest picture in his house.

If such are the consequences of an immodest picture, what then will be the punishment of the still more disastrous scandals resulting from bad books, bad papers, bad schools and bad conversations? Væ mundo a scanalis! Væ homini illi per quem scandalum venit! “Woe to the world because of scandals! Woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh!” (St. Matthew 18:7)

~ From Purgatory Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints by Fr. F.X. Shouppe, S.J., Tan Books and Publishers, Inc. ~

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Different Degrees of Purgatory

"I can tell you about the different degrees of Purgatory because I have passed through them. In the great Purgatory there are several stages. In the lowest and most painful, like a temporary hell, are the sinners who have committed terrible crimes during life and whose death surprised them in that state. It was almost a miracle that they were saved, and often by the prayers of holy parents or other pious persons. Sometimes they did not even have time to confess their sins and the world thought them lost, but God, whose mercy is infinite, gave them at the moment of death the contrition necessary for their salvation on account of one or more good actions which they performed during life. For such souls, Purgatory is terrible. It is a real hell with this difference, that in hell they curse God, whereas we bless Him and thank Him for having saved us.

"Next to these come the souls, who though they did not commit great crimes like the others, were indifferent to God. They did not fulfill their Easter duties and were also converted at the point of death. Perhaps they were unable to receive Holy Communion. They are in Purgatory for the long years of indifference. They suffer unheard of pains and are abandoned either without prayers or if they are said for them, they are not allowed to profit by them. There are in this stage of Purgatory religious of both sexes, who were tepid, neglectful of their duties, indifferent towards Jesus, also priests who did not exercise their sacred ministry with the reverence due to the Sovereign Majesty and who did not instill the love of God sufficiently into the souls confided to their care. I was in this stage of Purgatory.

"In the second Purgatory are the souls of those who died with venial sins not fully expiated before death, or with mortal sins that have been forgiven but for which they have not made entire satisfaction to the Divine Justice. In this part of Purgatory, there are also different degrees according to the merits of each soul. Thus the Purgatory of the consecrated souls or of those who have received more abundant graces, is longer and far more painful than that of ordinary people of the world.

"Lastly, there is the Purgatory of desire which is called the Threshold. Very few escape this. To avoid it altogether, one must ardently desire Heaven and the vision of God. That is rare, rarer than people think, because even pious people are afraid of God and have not, therefore, a sufficiently strong desire of going to Heaven. This Purgatory has its very painful martyrdom like the others. The deprivation of the sight of our loving Jesus adds to the intense suffering."

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

Monday, March 29, 2010

Plenary Indulgences for the Living and the Faithful Departed

Don't miss these opportunities to gain plenary indulgences (which can be applied to the souls in Purgatory)!

5. Worth special mention are those grants which list works by which the Christian faithful, by performing any one of them, can obtain a plenary indulgence every day of the year:

adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for at least one half hour (no. 3);

devout reading of the Sacred Scriptures for at least one half hour (no. 50);

the devout performance of the Stations of the Cross (no. 63);

the recitation of the Marian Rosary in a church or oratory, with members of the family, in a religious Community, or in a pious association (no. 48).

But even in these instances what is stated in norm 21, paragraph 1, retains its force, namely, a plenary indulgence can be obtained but once a day. (Source)
for Indulgences: requirements for gaining a plenary indulgence ~

Sunday, March 28, 2010

God's Justice for Neglect of Souls in Purgatory

St. Antoninus, the illustrious Archbishop of Florence, relates that a pious gentleman had died, who was a great friend of the Dominican Convent in which the Saint resided. Many Masses and suffrages were offered for his soul.

The Saint was very much afflicted when, after the lapse of a long time, the soul of the poor gentleman appeared to him, suffering excruciating pains.

"Oh, my Dear Friend, " exclaimed the Archbishop, "are you still in Purgatory, you who led such a pious and devout life?"

"Yes, and I shall remain there still for a long time, " replied the poor sufferer, "for when on Earth I neglected to offer suffrages for the souls in Purgatory. Now, God by a just judgment has applied the suffrages which have been offered for me to those souls for whom I should have prayed. "

"But God, too, in His Justice, will give me all the merits of my good works when I enter Heaven; but first of all, I have to expiate my grave neglect in regard to others. "

So true are the words of Our Lord: "By that measure with which you measure, it will be measured to you again. "

Remember, you who read these lines, that the terrible fate of this pious gentleman will be the fate of all those who neglect to pray for and refuse to help the Holy Souls.

~ From Read Me or Rue It by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P. ~

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Revelation About Eternal Life


A Polish prince who, for some political reason, had been exiled from his native country bought a beautiful castle and property in France.

Unfortunately, he had lost the Faith of his childhood and was at the time of our story engaged in writing a book against God and the existence of a future life.

Strolling one evening in his garden, he came upon a poor woman weeping bitterly. He questioned her as to the cause of her grief.

"Ah! Prince," she replied, "I am the wife of Jean [John] Marie, your former steward, who died two days ago. He was a good husband to me and a faithful servant to Your Highness. His sickness was long and I spent all our savings on the doctors, and now I have nothing left to get Masses said for his soul."

The Prince, touched by her grief, said a few kind words and, though professing no longer to believe in a future life, gave her some gold coins to have Masses said for her husband's soul.

Some time after, it was again evening, and the Prince was in his study working feverishly at his book.

He heard a loud rap at the door and without looking up called out to the visitor to come in. The door slowly opened and a man entered and stood facing the Prince's writing table.

On glancing up, what was not the Prince's amazement to see Jean Marie, his dead steward, looking at him with a sweet smile.

"Prince, " he said, "I come to thank you for the Masses you enabled my wife to have said for my soul. Thanks to the saving Blood of Christ, which was offered for me, I am now going to Heaven, but God has allowed me to come and thank you for your generous alms. "

He then added impressively: "Prince, there is a God, a future life, a Heaven and a Hell. "

Having said these words he disappeared.

The Prince fell upon his knees and poured forth a fervent Credo ( I believe in God.. ").

~ From Read Me or Rue It by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P.,
Tan Books and PublishersPublishers, Inc. ~

Friday, March 26, 2010

Prayer for Daily Neglects

Eternal Father,
I offer Thee the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
with all its love,
all its sufferings and all its merits.


To expiate all the sins
I have committed this day and during all my life.

Glory be...


To purify the good I have done poorly this day
and during all my life.

Glory be...


To supply for the good I ought to have done,
and that I have neglected this day and all my life.

Glory be...

A Poor Clare sister who had just died,
appeared to her Abbess who was praying for her,
and said to her: "I went straight to heaven,
for, by means of this prayer, recited every evening,
I paid all my debts."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Angelus: Indulgenced Prayer

The Angelus is recited at three particular times during the day; 6 am, 12 noon, and 6 pm. During the Easter Season, the Angelus is replaced by the Regina Caeli. A partial indulgence (applicable to the souls in Purgatory) is granted to those who devoutly recite it according to the time of the year.

The Angel of the Lord
a) During the year (outside of Easter Season)

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary, R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. Hail Mary.

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, R. Be it done unto me according to your word. Hail Mary.

V. And the Word was made flesh, R. And dwelt among us. Hail Mary.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. Pour forth, we beg you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts: that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son was made known by the message of an Angel, may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

b) During Easter Season

V. Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia: R. For he whom you merited to bear, alleluia,

V. Has risen, as he said, alleluia. R. Pray for us to God, alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia. R. Because the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray. O God, who by the Resurrection of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, granted joy to the whole world: grant, we beg you, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, his Mother, we may lay hold of the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shepherds Speak About Indulgences

"I want to mention something about indulgences, which are often misunderstood. Indulgences are not forgiveness for sin but forgiveness for temporal punishment due to sin.

"I like to explain it to people with the following story:

"As a child, once I came home very late for dinner. My mother was very upset, and seeing how upset she was, I felt very repentant and I told her that it would never happen again. She told me she forgave me, but as my punishment I would have to do the dishes.

"So there was repentance and forgiveness, but there was still punishment.

"But, as I started doing the dishes, my nana came in and said, “I will help you.”

"That is an indulgence.

"God loves us and he forgives us, but in His justice there is still some punishment for sin. The indulgence is when the merits and the sufferings of Jesus and the saints are applied to that punishment."

~ Cardinal Sean O'Malley ~

"Though it may seem “quaint” or even archaic to some, the notion of the indulgence is a meaningful expression of the doctrine of Grace and merit, and bears testimony to the power of our prayers for one another, even beyond this life. It also expresses the pastoral solicitude of the Vicar of Christ to “bind and loose” (cf. Matthew 16:19) as an expression of God’s mercy. "

"The greatest and most powerful prayer we can offer for the eternal salvation of those who have died is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Here the saving gift of Jesus Christ, dying and rising, is made present and its fruits or benefits are applied on behalf of the faithful."

~ Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, MO ~

~ Information for this post found here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Transalpine Redemptorists: Purgatorian Archconfraternity

“Oh no! That is not sufficient. It is the Blood of Jesus Christ that is needed to extinguish the flames by which I am consumed; it is the August Sacrifice that will deliver me from these frightful torments.”

(A Soul from Purgatory to Bl Henry Suso)

Father Michael Mary: The Purgatorian Archconfraternity is a Church approved practical application of our good intention to assist the souls of our beloved dead by having as many Masses said for them as possible. They are unable to help themselves and need our help. It is not a new idea. From the earliest times Catholics have done what they could to help the souls of their loved ones to reach heaven. I think for example of St. Monica who died in 387AD. When she was dying she was anxious for but one thing: that she be remembered after her death in the offering of the Holy Mass. Her words to her two sons are so well known: “Bury my body wherever you will; let not care of it cause you any concern. One thing only I ask of you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be.” One of her sons was a bishop she had access to many Masses. She asked for them. The other son would also have had Masses said for his mother. Now the Purgatorian Archconfraternity is a continuation of a tradition that goes back to these earliest times of the Church. Catholics have always promised to offer Mass or to have Mass offered for the souls of their loved ones. In time formal associations came into being. The Middle Ages were the high point in the development of these purgatorian societies. With the terrible chaos of the Protestant Revolt there also came the disappearance of the great mediaeval purgatorian associations. In modern times the most important purgatorian society, and the one that our Purgatorian Archconfraternity is modeled on is the Redemptorist one which was founded in Rome in 1841. Its full name is the “Archconfraternity for the Relief of the Poor Souls in Purgatory under the title of the Assumption of Mary in the Redemptorist church of Santa Maria in Monterone at Rome.” This is our model and as traditional Catholics we carry on what seems to have been discarded in the chaos and upheaval of the post Vatican II era. We have returned to the obligations of offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every day for the living and dead who are the members of the Purgatorian Archconfraternity.

~ Purgatorian Archconfraternity website ~

~ Transalpine Redemptorists at home ~

Monday, March 22, 2010

St. Alphonsus Liguori: Christian Duty to Aid the Souls in Purgatory

"The practice of recommending to God the souls in Purgatory, that He might mitigate the great pains which they suffer, and that He may soon bring them to His glory, is most pleasing to the Lord and most profitable to us. For these blessed souls are His eternal spouses, and most grateful are they to those who obtain their deliverance from prison, or even a mitigation of their torments. When, therefore, they arrive in Heaven, they will be sure to remember all who have prayed for them. It is a pious belief that God manifests to them our prayers in their behalf, that they may also pray for us. It is true that these blessed souls are not in a state to pray for themselves, because they are atoning for their faults. However, because they are very dear to God, they can pray for us, and obtain for us the divine graces. Saint Catherine of Bologna, when she wished to obtain any grace, had recourse to the souls in Purgatory, and her prayers were heard immediately. She declared that, by praying to those holy souls, she obtained many favours which she had sought through the intercession of the saints without obtaining them. The graces which devout persons are said to have received through these holy souls are innumerable.

"But, if we wish for the aid of their prayers, it is just, it is even a duty, to relieve them by our suffrages. I say, it is even a duty: for Christian charity commands us to relieve our neighbors who stand in need of our assistance. But who among all our neighbors have so great need of our help as those holy prisoners? They are continually in that fire which torments more severely than any earthly fire. They are deprived of the sight of God, a torment far more excruciating than all other pains. Let us reflect that among these suffering souls are parents, or brothers, or relations and friends, who look to us for succour.

"Let us remember, moreover, that being in the condition of debtors for their sins, they cannot assist themselves. This thought should urge us forward to relieve them to the best of our ability. By assisting them we shall not only give great pleasure to God, but will acquire also great merit for ourselves. And, in return for our suffrages, these blessed souls will not neglect to obtain for us many graces from God, but particularly the grace of eternal life. I hold for certain that when a soul delivered from Purgatory by the suffrages of a Christian enters paradise, she will not fail to say to God: “Lord, do not suffer that person to be lost who has liberated me from the prison of Purgatory, and has brought me to the enjoyment of Thy glory sooner than I had deserved.”
~ St. Alphonsus Liguori ~

Friday, March 19, 2010

Petition for St. Joseph's Blessing

Bless me, O dearly beloved Father, St. Joseph; bless my body and my soul; bless my resolutions, my words and deeds, all my actions and omissions, my every step; bless all that I possess, all my interior and exterior goods, that all may redound to the greater honor of God. Bless me for time and eternity, and preserve me from every sin. Obtain for me the grace to make atonement for all my sins by love and contrition here on earth, so that after my last breath I may, without delay, prostrate at thy feet return thee thanks in Heaven for all the love and goodness thou, O dearest Father, hast shown me here below. Amen.

Now pray the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be to the Father, three times, in thanksgiving to God for the graces and prerogatives bestowed on St. Joseph.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Indulgenced Prayer Before a Crucifix

A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who on any of the Fridays of Lent devoutly recite after Communion the above prayer before a crucifix and fulfill the other requirements for gaining a plenary indulgence.

A partial indulgence is granted if the prayer is prayed as an act of thanksgiving after Communion on any other days of the year.

Any indulgences gained can be offered for the souls in Purgatory.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick: Baptism Necessary to Enter Heaven

"The Lord hath given to me, though humble, the power of working miracles among a barbarous people, such as are not recorded to have been worked by the great Apostles; inasmuch as, in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, I have raised from the dead bodies that have been buried many years; but I beseech you, let no one believe that for these or the like works I am to be at all equaled with the Apostles, or with any perfect man, since I am humble, and a sinner, and worthy only to be despised."

~ St. Patrick ~

In the country of Neyll, a King Echu allowed St. Patrick to receive his beloved daughter Cynnia as a nun, though he bewailed the fact that his royal line would thereby end without issue. The king exacted a promise from Patrick not to insist that he be baptized, yet to promise him the heavenly kingdom. Patrick agreed, and left the matter in the hands of God.

Sometime later King Echu lay dying. He sent a messenger to St. Patrick to tell him he desired Baptism and the heavenly kingdom. To those around him the King gave an order that he not be buried until Patrick came. Patrick, then in the monastery of Saballum, two days' journey away, knew of the situation through the Holy Spirit before the messenger even arrived. He left to go to the King, but arrived to find Echu dead.

St. Patrick revived the King, instructed him, and baptized him. He asked Echu to relate what he had seen of the joys of the just and the pains of the wicked, so that his account could be used for the proving of Patrick's preaching. Echu told of many other-world wonders and of how, in the heavenly country, he had seen the place that Patrick promised him. But the King could not enter in because he was unbaptized.

Then St. Patrick asked Echu if he would rather live longer in this world, or go to the place prepared for him in the heavenly kingdom. The King answered that all the world had was emptiest smoke compared to the celestial joys. Then having received the Eucharist, he fell asleep in the Lord.

~ Excerpt from Saints Who Raised the Dead, True Stories of 400 Resurrection Miracles,
by Fr. Albert J. Hebert, S. M.,
found here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Make Room for Christ

Sacrifices offered up for souls in Purgatory benefit not only the poor souls, but also spiritually enrich the one who sacrifices--thanks be to God!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

St. Gertrude: Benefits of Holy Communion for All Souls

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.

~ From The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great ~

Thursday, March 11, 2010

St. Catherine of Genoa: The 'Fire' of Purgatory

"The 'fire' of purgatory is God's love 'burning' the soul
so that, at last, the soul is wholly aflame.
It is the pain of wanting to be made totally worthy
of One who is seen as infinitely lovable,
the pain of desire for union that is now absolutely assured,
but not yet fully tasted."

~ St. Catherine of Genoa ~

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Souls in Purgatory: Insatiable Desire To See God

Retreat in August 1878. Great sinners who were indifferent towards God, and religious who were not what they should have been are in the lowest stage of Purgatory. While they are there, the prayers offered up for them are not applied to them. Because they have ignored God during their life, He now in His turn leaves them abandoned in order that they may repair their neglectful and worthless lives. While on earth one truly cannot picture or imagine what God really is, but we (in Purgatory) know and understand Him for what He is, because our souls are freed from all the ties that fettered them and prevented them from realizing the holiness and majesty of God, and His great mercy. We are martyrs, consumed as it were by love. An irresistible force draws us towards God who is our center, but at the same time another force thrusts us back to our place of expiation.

We are in the state of being unable to satisfy our longings. Oh, what a suffering that is, but we desire it and there is no murmuring against God here. We desire only what God wants. You on earth, however, cannot possibly understand what we have to endure. I am much relieved as I am no longer in the fire. I have now only the insatiable desire to see God, a suffering cruel enough indeed, but I feel that the end of my exile is at hand and that I am soon to leave this place where I long for God with all my heart. I know it well, I feel more at ease, but I cannot tell you the day or the hour of my release. God alone knows that. It may be that I have still many years of longing for Heaven. Continue to pray; I will repay you later on, though I do pray a great deal for you now.

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

Monday, March 8, 2010

Purgatory and Sacred Scripture

Although the word "purgatory" is not explicitly used, there is no question that the doctrine is taught in Sacred Scripture. Both our Lord and St. Paul speak of it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Holy Desires of St. Therese

" O my God! Most Blessed Trinity,
I desire to love You and make You loved,
to work for the glory of Holy Church
by saving souls on earth
and liberating those suffering in purgatory.
I desire to accomplish Your will perfectly
and to reach the degree of glory
You have prepared for me in Your kingdom.
I desire, in a word, to be a saint,
but I feel my helplessness,
and I beg You, O my God,
to be yourself my sanctifier."

~ St. Therese ~

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Homily: A Warning From Hell

In the parable of Lazarus and Dives, Dives asks Abraham even for a drop of water to relieve his sufferings in Hell, but the time for mercy had passed. He had many opportunities during his life to give mercy to Lazarus and so gain mercy from God, but he did not. Let us take heed.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Are You Ready to Meet God?

Not too long ago I attended my brother Shannon’s funeral – he was 35 years old when he died. Before that, I attended my sister Linda’s funeral – she was 32. In between these, my niece Callie was 2 years old when she was ripped from this world. No one saw any of these devastating and sudden losses coming. All three were healthy only hours before. Each of their bodies failed, almost instantly, in different and unexpected ways. Each of them lived as if they had long lives ahead of them. Each of them were wrong. One moment they were healthy, spending time with family, playing, eating, sleeping… and then they were suddenly standing before God.

What did they see? What will you see? When will you find yourself standing before God? In the next ten minutes? The next hour? Tomorrow? Next week? Are you ready?

Have you got a backup plan to avoid hell? Some believe they do. They believe that some day they will get around to the all-important task of developing their spiritual lives, but that if they don’t, they are willing and ready to endure the backup plan – purgatory. This sounds plausible on its face, but what if we miss the mark? Aiming for purgatory and missing can be a hellish mistake.

~ Dan Burke, from A Hellish Backup Plan ~

"Hell… definitely not a good subject. But the thought of it can lead us to wake up and shed our spiritual sloth. The children of Fatima were granted a vision of hell from our Lady, and it turned them into ardent apostles of prayer. Christ himself mentions it in the Gospel for those who would rather not take the narrow path but instead choose the wide and easy one. He mentions the fire that is never extinguished and the worm that dies not. This is not just a scare tactic to get us to worry, but as the Catechism says, “a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny… and at the same time, an urgent call to conversion” (CCC, 1036). I think that is the reason we should contemplate the eternal truths: they give meaning to our lives. They get us to pull our heads out of the sand and realize what life is really about and where we are heading. They turn us back to God and teach us to value him and his things above all else. God is not a bookkeeper, keeping track of our faults and sins and waiting for the proper moment to cut us down and cut us off. He is a loving God who loved us so much that he sent us his only Son to show us the way to him. Meditating on the last things enables us to grow in love for him and his mercy."

~ Fr. Joseph Burtka, LC, from Catholic Spiritual Direction ~

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Offering Jesus and His Merits to the Eternal Father

During a sermon one day, the holy Curé of Ars gave the example of a priest who, celebrating Mass for a deceased friend, after the Consecration prayed as follows, "Holy and Eternal Father, let us make an exchange. You possess the soul of my friend in Purgatory; I have the Body of Your Son in my hands. You liberate my friend for me, and I offer to You Your Son, with all the merits of His Passion and Death."

~ From Jesus Our Eucharistic Love by Fr. Stefano Manelli, O.F.M. Conv., S.T.D.~

Monday, March 1, 2010

St. Francis de Sales: Charity For the Dead

With Charity towards the dead we practice all the works of charity.
The Church encourages us to aid the souls in purgatory,
who in turn will reward us abundantly when they come into their glory.
~ St. Francis de Sales ~