Wednesday, June 30, 2010

St. Therese: The Sanctifying Fire of Love

"I am not afraid of Purgatory. I know that I am not worthy to enter that place of expiation with those holy souls. But I know, also, that the fire of Love is more sanctifying than the fire of Purgatory."

~ St. Therese, Little Flower of Jesus ~

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Prayer for Today's Needs: "Just for Today"


Lord, for tomorrow and its needs
I do not pray;
Keep me, my God, from stain of sin.
Just for today.

Let me both diligently work
And duly pray;
Let me be kind in word and deed.
Just for today.

Let me be slow to do my will,
Prompt to obey;
Help me to mortify my flesh,
Just for today.

Let me no wrong or idle word
Unthinking say;
Set Thou a seal upon my lips,
Just for today.

Let me in season, Lord, be grave,
In season gay;
Let me be faithful to Thy grace,
Just for today.

And if today, my life
Should ebb away,
Give me Thy Sacraments divine,
Sweet Lord, today.

In Purgatory's cleansing fires
Brief be my stay;
Oh, bid me, if today I die,
Come home today.

So for tomorrow and its needs,
I do not pray;
But keep me, guide me, love me, Lord,
Just for today.

~ From Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, 1887 ~

It is interesting to me that the above lyrics are available from many sources on the Internet, but some have less stanzas or are arranged in a different order. What is usually omitted is the stanza that mentions the Sacraments or the one that mentions Purgatory, or both. Instead of "In Purgatory's cleansing fires" as written above, the source I am quoting from below says "In pain and sorrow's cleansing fires".

Information about the hymn's author:

The text was written by Sybil Farish Partridge, who was born around 1856 at London in Middlesex, England. Originally in eight four-line stanzas, it is dated 1876 and first appeared in the Jan., 1880, issue of The Messenger of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1881, she was a governess of a school in Liverpool while living in the convent of Notre Dame on Mount Pleasant. Frederick M. Steele, a Presbyterian minister from Chicago, IL, visited her, known then only as Sister Mary Xavier or S. M. X., to meet the author of "Lord, for tomorrow and its needs." She gave him her name but said, "It would be my preference that the great world outside should not know it till after I am gone." Sometimes the author’s name is erroneously listed as E. R. Wilberforce. The text’s first appearance in America seems to have been in the 1888 Songs of Rejoicing edited by Fred A. Fillmore.

In the Nov. 11, 1920, issue of The Continental, Lee wrote of his earlier visit with Partridge, saying, "I learn she recently has passed away, so I am at liberty now to tell the story." Thus, she must have died somewhere around 1910 to 1920, probably at the convent of Notre Dame in Liverpool, England. The tune (Vincent) most commonly used was composed for this text by Horatio Richmond Palmer (1834-1907). Though copyrighted in 1887, it first appeared in his 1892 Garnered Gems of Sunday School Song. Palmer is best remembered for "Yield Not to Temptation." Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, a version of "Just For Today" appeared in the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 with both words and music arranged by editor Lloyd Otis Sanderson (1901-1992). The same tune was used in the 1925 edition of the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 with Robert Walmsley’s hymn "The Sun Declines O’er Land and Sea." (

Monday, June 28, 2010

St. Faustina: Jesus Wants Prayers Instead of Talk

"I sometimes talk too much. A thing could be settled in one or two words, and as for me, I take too much time about it. But Jesus wants me to use that time to say some short indulgenced prayers for the souls in purgatory. And the Lord says that every word will be weighed on the day of judgment." (274)

~ From Divine Mercy In My Soul, The Diary of Sr. M. Faustina Kowalska ~
~Some short indulgenced prayers ~

Saturday, June 26, 2010

St. Faustina: Summoned to the Judgment Seat of God

"Once I was summoned to the judgment [seat] of God. I stood alone before the Lord. Jesus appeared such as we know Him during His Passion. After a moment, His wounds disappeared except for five, those in His hands, His feet and His side. Suddenly I saw the complete condition of my soul as God sees it. I could clearly see all that is displeasing to God. I did not know that even the smallest transgressions will have to be accounted for. What a moment! Who can describe it? To stand before the Thrice-Holy God! Jesus asked me, Who are you? I answered, "I am Your servant, Lord." You are guilty of one day of fire in purgatory. I wanted to throw myself immediately into the flames of purgatory, but Jesus stopped me and said, Which do you prefer, suffer now for one day in purgatory or for a short while on earth? I replied, "Jesus, I want to suffer in purgatory, and I want to suffer also the greatest pains on earth, even if it were until the end of the world." Jesus said, One [of the two] is enough; you will go back to earth, and there you will suffer much, but not for long; you will accomplish My will and My desires, and a faithful servant of Mine will help you to do this. Now, rest your head on My bosom, on My heart, and draw from it strength and power for these sufferings, because you will find neither relief nor help nor comfort anywhere else. Know that you will have much, much to suffer, but don't let this frighten you; I am with you." (36)

~ From Divine Mercy In My Soul, The Diary of Sr. M. Faustina Kowalska ~

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fr. William Doyle: What God Wants is Love

"I fear you are allowing the devil to score off you by getting so much upset over these bothersome, but harmless, temptations. You must let our Lord sanctify you in His own way. Were we to pick our own trials and modes of sanctification, we should soon make a mess of things. The net result of your temptations is a deeper humility, a sense of your own weakness and wretchedness, and is not this all gain ? “My brethren, count it all joy, when you shall fall into diverse temptations,” says St. James (1.2). All I ask you to do is to try to crush down the first movements of temptation, which perhaps can best be done by praying that others may be more favoured or esteemed than you. There is a danger you may not suspect in thinking and grieving too much over temptation and faults. First of all there is oftentimes a secret pride hidden in our grief and anger with ourselves for not being as perfect as we thought, or as others thought. Then this worrying over what cannot well be avoided distracts the soul from God. After all, what God wants from you, my child, is love, and nothing should distract you from the grand work of love-giving. Hence when you fail, treat our Blessed Lord like a loving little child, tell Him you are sorry, kiss His feet as a token of your regret, and then forget all about your naughtiness."

~ Fr. William Doyle, from Remembering Fr William Doyle SJ ~

Thursday, June 24, 2010

St. Faustina: The Power of Obedience

July 9, 1937. "This evening, one of the deceased sisters came and asked me for one day of fasting and to offer all my [spiritual] exercises on that day for her. I answered that I would. (1185)

"From early morning on the following day, I offered everything for her intention. During Holy Mass, I had a brief experience of her torment. I experienced such intense hunger for God that I seemed to be dying of the desire to become united with Him. This lasted only a short time, but I understood what the longing of the souls in purgatory was like. (1186)

"Immediately after Holy Mass, I asked Mother Superior's permission to fast, but I did not receive it because of my illness. When I entered the chapel, I heard these words: "If you had fasted, Sister, I would not have gotten relief until the evening, but for the sake of your obedience, which prevented you from fasting, I obtained this relief at once. Obedience has great power." After these words I heard: "May God reward you." (1187)

~ From Divine Mercy in My Soul, the Diary of Sr. M. Faustina ~

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Visit Jesus In the Blessed Sacrament: Speaking to Jesus Heart to Heart

"Whenever you can pass by the church, make a little visit to Jesus and pour out the love of your heart to Him. Tell Him all your sorrows, your joys, your sufferings, in one word, everything. Speak to Him as to a loving Friend, a Father, a Spouse. Tell Him of all your tender love for Him, and when you cannot go to church, speak to Him in your heart. From time to time, during the day, fill your mind for a few minutes with the Divine Presence, recollect yourself before His Majesty, acknowledging your own misery but also His goodness and thank Him affectionately. All the day long you can speak to Jesus Heart to heart."

~ Sr. M.G., a Soul from Purgatory,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pope John Paul II: "The Encounter With God Requires Absolute Purity"

5. In following the Gospel exhortation to be perfect like the heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:48) during our earthly life, we are called to grow in love, to be sound and flawless before God the Father 'at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints' (1 Thes 3:12f.). Moreover, we are invited to 'cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit' (2 Cor 7:1; cf. 1 Jn 3:3), because the encounter with God requires absolute purity.

Every trace of attachment to evil must be eliminated, every imperfection of the soul corrected. Purification must be complete, and indeed this is precisely what is meant by the Church's teaching on purgatory. The term does not indicate a place, but a condition of existence. Those who, after death, exist in a state of purification, are already in the love of Christ who removes from them the remnants of imperfection (cf. Ecumenical Council of Florence, Decretum pro Graecis: DS 1304; Ecumenical Council of Trent, Decretum de iustificatione: DS 1580; Decretum de purgatorio: DS 1820).

It is necessary to explain that the state of purification is not a prolungation of the earthly condition, almost as if after death one were given another possibility to change one's destiny. The Church's teaching in this regard is unequivocal and was reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council which teaches: 'Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed (cf. Heb 9:27), we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth' (Mt 22:13 and 25:30)" (Lumen gentium, n. 48).

~ Pope John Paul II, Excerpts from General Audience, August 4, 1999 ~

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rosary for the Souls of Priests in Purgatory

Rosary for the Souls of Priests in Purgatory
A 6 Decade Rosary

How to Pray the Rosary for the Souls of Priests in Purgatory:
The first five decades are meditations on the Sorrowful Mysteries.
The final decade is a meditation on the Lord's Holy Wounds and Precious Blood.

Preparation Prayers
•Make the Sign of the Cross
•Recite the Apostle's Creed
◦One (1) Our Father
◦Three (3) Hail Marys (for the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity)
◦One (1) Glory Be
The First Decade
•Meditation: Lord Jesus Christ, through Your bloody sweat of fear that You shed on the Mount of Olives, we ask You to have Mercy on the Souls of Your Priests in Purgatory! Deliver them from their fear and pain and console them with the Cup of Heavenly Comfort!
•For each decade pray:
◦One (1) Our Father {Large Bead}
◦Ten (10) Hail Marys {Small Beads}
•Instead of the Glory Be, conclude with:
◦Lord, grant them Eternal Rest and let Perpetual Light shine upon them!

The Second Decade
•Meditation: Lord Jesus Christ, through Your painful Scourging which You tolerated so patiently for us sinners, we ask You to have Mercy on the Souls of Your Priests in Purgatory! Retract from them the pain of Your Anger and give them Eternal Relief.

The Third Decade
•Meditation: Lord Jesus Christ, through Your painful Crowning which You suffered so patiently for us sinners, we ask You to have Mercy on the Souls of Your Priests in Purgatory and give them the crown of Eternal Delight!

The Fourth Decade
•Meditation: Lord Jesus Christ, through Your painful Carrying of the Cross, which You suffered so patiently for us sinners, we ask You to have Mercy on the Souls of Your Priests in Purgatory! Remove from them the heavy burden of suffering and lead them into Eternal Peace.

The Fifth Decade
•Meditation: Lord Jesus Christ, through Your painful Crucifixion, which You suffered so patiently for us sinners, we ask You to have Mercy on the Souls of Your Priests in Purgatory! Turn Your Holy Face toward them and let them today be in Paradise with You!

The Sixth Decade
•Meditation: Lord Jesus Christ, through your five Holy Wounds and through all of Your Sacred Blood that You shed, we ask You to have Mercy on the Souls of Your Priests in Purgatory, and in particular {Insert the name of the particular priest for whom you are offering this rosary}! Heal their painful wounds and let them enjoy and participate fully in Your Salvation.

•Upon completion, say:
◦The Memorare
◦Hail Holy Queen
◦Prayers for the Intentions of the Holy Father
■One (1) Our Father
■One (1) Hail Mary
■One (1) Glory Be
•Conclude with the Sign of the Cross
Pope John Paul, II - pray for us!

~ Rosary for the Souls of Priests in Purgatory found here. ~

Thursday, June 17, 2010

In Paradisum: May Angels Lead You Into Paradise

May angels lead you into Paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your coming and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May a choir of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, who once was poor, may you have eternal rest.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blessed Dina Belanger: Indulgences for Souls in Purgatory

Our Lord requested of Blessed Dina Belanger a particular intention for each day of the week: reparation, thanksgiving, for her Congregation, for religious vocations, for consecrated souls, for all souls, for sacerdotal souls. She found it strange that He said nothing about the souls in Purgatory so she asked Him:

"My Jesus, in Thy intentions for each day of the week, Thou dost not mention the souls in Purgatory?"

Jesus replied:

"The souls in Purgatory have their share in each of your days. By the offering of Indulgences which you make every morning My holy Mother applies to them, according to her choice, the merit of your prayers and works. You have no other merits than through My merits, but My merits are infinite, inexhaustible. The intentions of each day of your week take nothing away from the souls in Purgatory who are so dear to Me. My merits can be applied to them and to the special intentions of each of your days."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos: Fools for Christ!

"This life is full of obstacles, difficulties for one whose purpose is the close following of Christ. O how few start on this road of the following of Christ! And for this reason it may sometimes appear that the true Christian life is something excessive. Our poor human nature may even call it at times a stupidity to despise a pleasure for God. It is as if somebody said to us: ‘How stupid you are to deny yourselves all innocent pleasures which others enjoy without scruple of conscience. Do you only want to go to Heaven? O what a dry, uninteresting form of existence!’ To such whisperings of the devil, you must never pay attention."

"Think always on the shortness of life and on the eternal happiness that we will enjoy in glory and contentment, which now we cannot even imagine"

"We must strive to embrace the crosses which God sends us with a willing, even joyful heart."

Blessed Francis Seelos' Top 10 Practical Guide to Holiness

1. Go to Mass with deepest devotion.

2. Spend a half hour to reflect upon your main failing & make resolutions to avoid it.

3. Do daily spiritual reading for at least 15 minutes, if a half hour is not possible.

4. Say the rosary every day.

5. Also daily, if at all possible, visit the Blessed Sacrament; and toward evening, meditate on the Passion of Christ for a half hour.

6. Conclude the day with evening prayer & an examination of conscience over all the faults & sins of the day.

7. Every month make a review of the month in confession.

8. Choose a special patron every month & imitate that patron in some special virtue.

9. Precede every great feast with a novena, that is, nine days of devotion.

10. Try to begin & end every activity with a “Hail Mary.”

~ Fr. Francis Xavier Seelos, C.Ss.R., quoted from official website ~

Monday, June 14, 2010

St. Alphonsus Liguori: Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

O most sweet Jesus, through the bloody sweat which Thou didst suffer in the Garden of Gethsemane, have mercy on these Blessed Souls. Have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer during Thy most cruel scourging, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in Thy most painful crowning with thorns, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in carrying Thy cross to Calvary, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer during Thy most cruel Crucifixion, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in Thy most bitter agony on the Cross, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the immense pain which Thou didst suffer in breathing forth Thy Blessed Soul, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

(Recommend yourself to the Souls in Purgatory and mention your intentions here)

Blessed Souls, I have prayed for thee; I entreat thee, who are so dear to God, and who are secure of never losing Him, to pray for me a miserable sinner, who is in danger of being damned, and of losing God forever. Amen.

Day 1: Jesus, my Savior I have so often deserved to be cast into hell how great would be my suffering if I were now cast away and obliged to think that I myself had caused my damnation. I thank Thee for the patience with which Thou hast endured me. My God, I love Thee above all things and I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee because Thou art infinite goodness. I will rather die than offend Thee again. Grant me the grace of perseverance. Have pity on me and at the same time on those blessed souls suffering in Purgatory. Mary, Mother of God, come to their assistance with thy powerful intercession.

Say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory .

Day 2: Woe to me, unhappy being, so many years have I already spent on earth and have earned naught but hell! I give Thee thanks, O Lord, for granting me time even now to atone for my sins. My good God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. Send me Thy assistance, that I may apply the time yet remaining to me for Thy love and service; have compassion on me, and, at the same time, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. O Mary, Mother of God, come to their assistance with thy powerful intercession.

Say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory .

Day 3: My God! because Thou art infinite goodness, I love Thee above all things, and repent with my whole heart of my offenses against Thee. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance. Have compassion on me, and, at the same, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. And thou, Mary, Mother of God, come to their assistance with thy powerful intercession.

Say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory .
Day 4: My God! because Thou art infinite goodness, I am sorry with my whole heart for having offended Thee. I promise to die rather than ever offend Thee more. Give me holy perseverance; have pity on me, and have pity on those holy souls that burn in the cleansing fire and love Thee with all their hearts. O Mary, Mother of God, assist them by thy powerful prayers.

Say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory .

Day 5: Woe to me, unhappy being, if Thou, O Lord, hadst cast me into hell; for from that dungeon of eternal pain there is no deliverance. I love Thee above all things, O infinite God and I am sincerely sorry for having offended Thee again. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance. Have compassion on me, and, at the same time, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. O Mary, Mother of God, come to their assistance with thy powerful intercession.

Say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory .

Day 6: My Divine Redeemer, Thou didst die for me on the Cross, and hast so often united Thyself with me in Holy Communion, and I have repaid Thee only with ingratitude. Now, however, I love Thee above all things, O supreme God; and I am more grieved at my offences against Thee than at any other evil. I will rather die than offend Thee again. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance. Have compassion on me, and, at the same time, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. Mary, Mother of God, come to their aid with thy powerful intercession.

Say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory .

Day 7: God, Father of Mercy, satisfy this their ardent desire! Send them Thy holy Angel to announce to them that Thou, their Father, are now reconciled with them through the suffering and death of Jesus, and that the moment of their deliverance has arrived.

Say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

Day 8: Oh my God! I also am one of these ungrateful beings, having received so much grace, and yet despised Thy love and deserved to be cast by Thee into hell. But Thy infinite goodness has spared me until now. Therefore, I now love Thee above all things, and I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. I will rather die than ever offend Thee. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance. Have compassion on me and, at the same time, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. Mary, Mother of God, come to their aid with thy powerful intercession.

Say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory .

Day 9: My God! How was it possible that I, for so many years, have borne tranquilly the separation from Thee and Thy holy grace! O infinite Goodness, how long-suffering hast Thou shown Thyself to me! Henceforth, I shall love Thee above all things. I am deeply sorry for having offended Thee; I promise rather to die than to again offend Thee. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance, and do not permit that I should ever again fall into sin. Have compassion on the holy souls in Purgatory. I pray Thee, moderate their sufferings; shorten the time of their misery; call them soon unto Thee in heaven, that they may behold Thee face to face, and forever love Thee. Mary, Mother of Mercy, come to their aid with thy powerful intercession, and pray for us also who are still in danger of eternal damnation.

Say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory .

~ Prayer written by St. Alphonsus Liguori ~

Saturday, June 12, 2010

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque: Joy and Thanksgiving

To Mother de Saumaise, at Dijon
May 2, 1683 (23)

"My soul is filled with such great consolation, dear Mother, that I can hardly stand it. Let me pour some of it into your heart so that mine, which hardly ever leaves the Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, may be relieved. This morning, Good Shepherd Sunday (May 2nd, 1683), when I awoke, two of my good friends suffering in Purgatory came to bid me goodbye.

"This was to be the day on which the Sovereign Shepherd would receive them into His eternal fold and, accompanied by more than a million others, they were taken up midst songs of inexpressible joy.

"One of them is good Mother Monthoux (died February 5, 1683), the other my dear Sister Jeanne Catherine Gacon (died January 18th, 1683) who repeated to me over and over again these words: "Love triumphs, love enjoys, love rejoices in her God." The other said "How happy are the dead who die in the Lord, and religious who live and die in the exact observance of their rule!"

"They want me to tell you for them death can indeed separate friends but not destroy their union. This message is from good Mother Monthoux. Sister Jeanne Catherine will be as good a daughter to you in Heaven as you have been a good Mother to her on earth.

"If only you knew how my soul was transported with joy! While I was still speaking to them I saw them gradually lost and as it were swallowed up in glory. They wish you to say in thanksgiving to the Blessed Trinity, A Te Deum, a Laudate, and a Gloria Patri five times. As I was begging them not to forget us they said to me these parting words: "Ingratitude has never yet entered Heaven."

"If you only knew the suffering that other one has caused me (See the proceeding letter). It is simply inexpressible. Give me a few drops of water with which to refresh her, for I am in the flames with her."
~ St. Margaret mary Alacoque, from The letters of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque ~

Friday, June 11, 2010

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and Souls in Purgatory

"While I was making the prayer you know I make on the night between Thursday and Friday, I was shown a holy soul from Purgatory for whom I had been favored with these sufferings.

"Our Mother gave me to the souls in Purgatory Holy Thursday night, allowing me to spend it before the Blessed Sacrament. Part of that time I was as though surrounded by these poor suffering souls with whom I have contracted a close friendship. Our Lord told me that He was giving me to them this year so that I might do for them all the good I could. They are often with me. I call them simply my suffering friends.

"There is one of them especially that causes me much suffering, although I cannot bring her as much relief as I would wish. I am not allowed to give her name but I do ask you to help her. She will not be ungrateful.

"You knew her at least by name but I do ask you to help her by performing for her nine acts each day from now to the feast of the Ascension, four of charity and five of humility. Offer the four acts of charity in honor of the ardent charity of theSacred Heart of Jesus and the five acts of humility in reparation for the humiliations He suffered in His Passion. How grateful I shall be to you if you get some other members of your community to help her in this same way.

~ St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, from The Letters of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque ~
~ Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Love and Reparation ~

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dante's Purgatorio

Purgatorio (Italian for "Purgatory") is the second part of Dante's Divine Comedy, following the Inferno, and preceding the Paradiso. The poem was written in the early 14th century. It is an allegory telling of the climb of Dante up the Mount of Purgatory, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Purgatory is depicted as a mountain in the Southern Hemisphere, consisting of a bottom section (Ante-Purgatory), seven levels of suffering and spiritual growth (associated with the seven deadly sins), and finally the Earthly Paradise at the top. Allegorically, the poem represents the Christian life, and in describing the climb Dante discusses the nature of sin, examples of vice and virtue, and moral issues in politics and in the Church. The poem outlines a theory that all sin arises from love – either perverted love directed towards others' harm, or deficient love, or the disordered love of good things.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

St. Francis de Sales: Consoling Thoughts of Purgatory

"We may draw from the thought of Purgatory more consolation than apprehension. The greater part of those who dread Purgatory so much think more of their own interests than of the interests of God’s glory; this proceeds from the fact that they think only of the sufferings without considering the peace and happiness which are there enjoyed by the holy souls. It is true that the torments are so great that the most acute sufferings of this life bear no comparison to them; but the interior satisfaction which is there enjoyed is such that no prosperity nor contentment upon earth can equal it. The souls are in a continual union with God."

~ St. Francis de Sales, quoted from Purgatory by Fr. F. X. Shouppe, S.J. ~

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque's Charity For a Suffering Benedictine Soul

"When I was praying before the Blessed Sacrament on the feast of Corpus Christi, a person enveloped in fire suddenly stood before me. From the pitiable state the soul was in, I knew it was in Purgatory and I wept bitterly. This soul told me it was that of a Benedictine, who had once heard my confession and ordered me to go to Holy Communion. As a reward for this, God permitted him to ask me to help him in his sufferings.

"He asked me to apply to him all I should do or suffer for a period of three months. Having obtained my superior's leave, I did what he asked. He told me that the greatest cause of his sufferings was that in life he had preferred his own interests to those of God, in that he had been too attached to his good reputation. His second defect was lack of charity to his brethren. The third was his all too natural attachment to creatures. It would be difficult for me to describe what I had to endure during those three months. He never left me and seeing him, as it were on fire and in such terrible pain, I could do nothing but groan and weep almost incessantly. My superior, being touched with compassion, told me to do hard penances, particularly to take the discipline . . . After the three months I saw the soul radiant with happiness, joy, and glory. He was about to enjoy eternal happiness, and in thanking me he said he would protect me when with God."

~ St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, from An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory ~

Monday, June 7, 2010

Anima Christi: Soul of Christ, Sanctify Me

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malicious enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come to Thee,
That with Thy saints I may praise Thee
for ever and ever.

~ Indulgenced prayer, commonly prayed after receiving Holy Communion:
indulgence may be offered for souls in purgatory ~

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Time Spent Before the Blessed Sacrament Gives Strength and Consolation

You may be sure that of all the moments of your life,
the time you spend before the divine Sacrament
will be that which will give you more strength during life
and more consolation at the hour of your death and during eternity."

~ St. Alphonsus Liguori ~

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Avoid the Devil's Trap of Discouragement

"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 Soul from Purgatory,
from An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory ~

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pope Leo XIII: Apostolic Tradition of Offering Masses for Souls in Purgatory

"...For the Communion of Saints, as everyone knows, is nothing but the mutual communication of help, expiation, prayers, blessings, among all the faithful, who, whether they have already attained to the heavenly country, or are detained in the purgatorial fire, or are yet exiles here on earth, all enjoy the common franchise of that city whereof Christ is the head, and the constitution is charity. For faith teaches us, that although the venerable Sacrifice may be lawfully offered to God alone, yet it may be celebrated in honour of the saints reigning in heaven with God Who has crowned them, in order that we may gain for ourselves their patronage. And it may also be offered - in accordance with an apostolic tradition - for the purpose of expiating the sins of those of the brethren who, having died in the Lord, have not yet fully paid the penalty of their transgressions."

~ Pope Leo XIII, from Mirae Caritatis ~

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for Souls in Purgatory

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, remembering the promise of the Resurrection, I humbly and sincerely offer these prayers and Masses for (Mention your intentions here ...) and all the departed. With joy, I thank You for what we shared in this earthly life. With hope, I pray this offering will help them on their journey to the fullness of life and happiness with You in Heaven. Purify them from all that is not holy so they may dwell in the mystery of Your perfect love forever. With blessed anticipation, I look forward to the coming age, when, with Your grace, I shall be united with them again in Paradise.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Blessed Virgin Mary Saved Soul From Eternal Damnation

In the year 1629, at Dole, in Franche-Compte, Hugette Roy, a woman of the middle station in life, was confined to bed by inflammation of the lungs, which endangered her life. The physician considering it necessary to bleed her, in his awkwardness cut an artery in the left arm, which speedily reduced her to the last extremity.

The following day, at dawn, she saw enter into her chamber a young girl clad in white, of most modest deportment, who asked her if she was willing to accept her services and to be nursed by her. The sick person, delighted with the offer, answered that nothing could give her greater pleasure; and instantly the stranger lighted the fire, approached Hugette, and placed her gently on the bed, and then continued to watch by her and serve her like the most devoted infirmarian. But, oh wonder! contact with the hands of the unknown one was so beneficial that the dying person found herself greatly relieved, and soon felt entirely cured. Then she would absolutely know who the amiable stranger was, and called her that she might question her ; but she withdrew, saying that she would return in the evening. In the meantime astonishment and curiosity were extreme when the tidings of this sudden cure spread abroad, and nothing was spoken of in Dole but this mysterious event.

When the unknown visitor returned in the evening, she said to Hugette, without trying to disguise herself, " Know, my dear niece, that I am your aunt, Leonarde Collin, who died seventeen years ago, leaving you an inheritance from her little property. Thanks to the Divine bounty, I am saved, and it was the Blessed Virgin, to whom I had great devotion, who obtained for me this happiness. Without her I was lost. When death suddenly struck me, I was in the state of mortal sin, but the merciful Virgin Mary obtained for me perfect contrition, and thus saved me from eternal damnation. Since that time I am in Purgatory, and our Lord permits me to finish my expiation by serving you during fourteen days. At the end of that time I shall be delivered from my pains if, on your part, you have the charity to make three pilgrimages for me to three holy sanctuaries of the Blessed Virgin."

Hugette, astonished, knew not what to think of this language. Not being able to believe the reality of the apparition, and fearing some snare of the evil spirit, she consulted her confessor, Father Antony Roland, a Jesuit, who advised her to threaten the unknown person with the exorcisms of the Church. This menace did not disturb her; she replied tranquilly, that she feared not the prayers of the Church. " They have no power," she added, "but against the demons and the damned ; none whatever against predestined souls, who are in the grace of God as I am." Hugette was not yet convinced. "How," said she to the young girl, "can you be my Aunt Leonarde ? She was old and worn, disagreeable and whimsical, whilst you are young, gentle, and obliging?" "Ah, my dear niece," replied the apparition, "my real body is in the tomb, where it will remain until the resurrection ; this one which you see is one miraculously formed from the air to allow me to speak to you, to serve you, and obtain your suffrages. As regards my irritable disposition, seventeen years of terrible suffering have taught me patience and meekness. Know, also, that in Purgatory we are confirmed in grace, marked with the seal of the elect, and therefore exempt from all vice."

After such explanation, incredulity was impossible. Hugette, at once astounded and grateful, received with joy the services rendered during the fourteen days designated. She alone could see and hear the deceased, who came at certain hours and then disappeared. As soon as her strength permitted, she devoutly made the pilgrimages which were asked of her.

At the end of fourteen days the apparition ceased. Leonarde appeared for the last time to announce her deliverance ; she was then in a state of incomparable glory, brilliant as a star, and her countenance bore an expression of the most perfect beatitude. In her turn, she testified her gratitude to her niece, promised to pray for her and her whole family, and advised her ever to remember, amid the sufferings of this life, the end of our existence, which is the salvation of our soul.
~ From Purgatory by Fr. F.X. Schouppe, S.J.
Tan Books and Publishers, Inc.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sacred Heart of Jesus: First Friday Devotion and Promises

"I promise you, in the excessive mercy of my heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance; they shall not die in my disgrace nor without receiving the sacraments; my divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in that last moment."

~ Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque ~

~ First Friday Promises of Jesus: here ~