Sunday, January 31, 2010

On Eagles' Wings

"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 ~


Why Purgatory Makes Sense

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Holy Mass: Most Effective Aid for Souls in Purgatory

Once during the celebration of Holy Mass in the Church of St. Paul at Tre Fontane near Rome, St. Bernard saw an unending stairway which led up to Heaven. By means of it very many angels ascended and descended, carrying from Purgatory to Paradise souls freed by the Sacrifice of Jesus—a Sacrifice renewed by priests on altars all over the world.

Hence on the occasion of the death of a relative, we should place much more importance in having Holy Masses celebrated and hearing them, than in selecting sprays of flowers, finding dark funeral attire, or arranging the funeral cort├Ęge. St. John Bosco said that the "Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" is what "benefits the poor souls in Purgatory; in fact, it is the most effective means of relieving those souls in their sufferings, of shortening the time of their exile and of bringing them sooner into the blessed kingdom."

~ Fr. Stephano Manelli, F.I., Jesus Our Eucharistic Love ~

Friday, January 29, 2010

Purgatory: Merciful Purification

"The Divine Essence is so pure —
purer than the imagination can conceive —
that the soul,
finding in itself the slightest imperfection,
would rather cast itself into a thousand hells than appear,
so stained,
in the presence of the Divine Majesty.
Knowing, then, that Purgatory was intended for her cleansing,
she throws herself therein,
and finds there that great mercy, the removal of her stains."

~ St. Catherine of Genoa ~

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Avoiding Purgatory by Voluntary Penance and Self-Denial

"One great advantage arising from the thought of Purgatory is that it inspires with a spirit of penance and self-denial; for it reminds us that Divine Justice, though severe, is not blind and never punishes the same fault twice, since if expiation is made in this world, it will not be required in the next. Knowing that justice so inflexible and unrelenting in Purgatory is easily disarmed here on earth, we naturally feel an earnest desire to escape the terrible fire of Purgatory, which can only punish sins unexpiated, and consequently we take care to leave few stains to be cleansed away hereafter.
"God in His infinite goodness affords us the opportunity of paying the debt contracted by a deliberate act by means of a voluntary satisfaction, and only chastises us in the other world because we have not had the courage to punish ourselves in this. Our interest, therefore, lies in forestalling His judgments and justice by self-imposed penances, for however severe they may be, they fall far short of those of Purgatory. This thought fills the soul with a holy courage to embrace mortification and penance generously, saying: 'better settle now my accounts with God; better take advantage of His mercy to satisfy His justice; better pay my debts now while I can do so easily. This is my resolve and firm determination.' "
~ From Stories About Purgatory and What They Reveal, Tan Publishers ~

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jesus in the Eucharist Wants to be Loved

"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 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.

"Tell Father P___ that God expects from Him this love which He so rarely meets with. He expects it from him who comes each day so close to Jesus, whom he receives into his heart. Oh, tell him that in those blessed moments he may repair by his tender love the indifference of so many ungrateful souls. His heart must melt with love for Jesus in the Host and intercede for those priests who enjoy the same privilege that he does, yet treat the sacred mysteries with a frozen heart which remains as cold as marble to Jesus. Everyday let his union with God become closer, in order to prepare himself worthily for the great graces which Jesus has in store for him.

"I have told you there are some souls who do their Purgatory at the foot of the altar. They are not there for faults they have committed in the church, because those faults which attack Jesus directly, Jesus present in the Tabernacle, are punished with terrible severity in Purgatory. There souls that are there in adoration are there as a reward for their reverent behavior in the Sacred Presence. They suffer less than if they were in Purgatory itself, and Jesus, whom they contemplate with the eyes of their soul and of faith, softens their pains by His invisible Presence."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cardinal Arinze Speaks About Purgatory

Negative Consequences of Unofficial Canonizations at Funerals

I want to share with you a powerful All Souls Day homily by Father Ray Suriani. In it he discusses the three most common and serious errors in funeral homilies and suggests what we should do if we hear these errors. The errors are: canonizing the deceased, failure to mention Purgatory, and giving a eulogy instead of a homily. From Fr. Suriani:

"Now here’s the question I have for priests who ignore purgatory and canonize their deceased parishioners at funerals: “Why do you celebrate funeral Masses? We don’t celebrate Masses FOR people who are already in heaven; we celebrate Masses and offer prayers for those who are in purgatory or who might be in purgatory on their way to heaven!”

Father Suriani discusses the negative consequences of unofficial canonizations:

"In other words, we might inadvertently cause our loved one more suffering, since we will neglect to pray for them and have Masses offered for the repose of their soul—both of which would bring them through purgatory and into heaven much more quickly!"

Here is the link to Father Suriani's complete homily. At the top of his blog post, he has a link to an audio version of his homily, which is well worth hearing.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Prayer for the Dying

O Beloved Jesus,
Who for the love of me didst agonize on the Cross,
and from that throne of truth
didst announce the completion of the work of our Redemption,
through which,
from being the children of wrath and perdition,
we are become the children of God and the heirs of heaven:
have mercy on all the faithful in their agony,
and on me also when I shall be in that extremity,
and, through the merits of Thy Precious Blood,
detach us entirely from the world and from ourselves,
and at the moment of our agony give us grace
sincerely to offer Thee the sacrifice of our life in expiation of our sins.
Amen.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Avoiding Purgatory: Control of the Tongue

Lord, help me
to use the gift of speech only for what is good
and to practice holy silence when I should.

"Why do such vile and useless words pour so easily from my mouth? The infinite beauty of Your works among man and Your creation and redemption should fill me in such a way as to drive me to speak of them always. Why would I think and speak about so much of what is broken when so much has been healed, restored, and made beautiful by You? Why would I spend time talking about the ills of others, of the Church, and of the world when I could spend time participating with You in the cure? Why would I give my tongue to the devil so that he can dip it in the excrement of criticism, negativity, intrigue, and pettiness when I could instead give it to building up the Church, reinforcing the good, to loving others, and to giving You Your just praise? Forgive me – heal me. May my tongue never utter a word unless it is to honor some good thing from You, to build the Kingdom, and to worship You my perfect King."

~ From Catholic Spiritual Direction by Anonymous ~

Catholic Spiritual Direction has also been added to the sidebar for easy future reference. It is an excellent resource for:
◦Questions and Answers about Spiritual Direction
◦Perspective on Spiritual Direction
◦Perspective on Prayer and other Matters Relating to Our Spiritual Growth
◦Book and Resource Reviews
◦Links to Resources for Further Spiritual Development

Friday, January 22, 2010

Prayer Intention for All Souls in Purgatory

"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, January 21, 2010

Msgr. Charles Pope: Talking Tough (Truth) at Funerals

On 1-12-10 I posted a video of an excerpt of a funeral sermon by Msgr. Charles Pope. Since then, I found his blog post that included the following excerpts and the video:

"...in recent years, I have altered my approach at funerals and direct almost half of the sermon to the unchurched and call them to repent and return home. Surely in the first part I speak of the deceased, offer thanks to God for their life, entrust them to God and ask the congregation to pray for the repose of the deceased soul. I never fail to menton judgment and purgatory as reasons for this prayer. That is too often not mentioned at Catholic funerals, a terrible oversight if you ask me. But the bottom line is that I spend the first half of the sermon commending the deceased person to God’s benevolent mercy and care.

"But given the terribly high loss in the practice of faith and the consequent grave condition of many of the souls at any given funeral I cannot allow (any longer) an omission to be made of summoning them to Christ. How can it be that God has led them to my parish and I would say nothing to them to dissuade them from their path away from God and his sacraments? So many souls today are not only unchurched and backslidden (fallen away), but they are often locked in serious, mortal sin. I cannot know this about any particular individual but it is clear that many are lost like sheep without a shepherd. While conscious of my own sin, I cannot remain silent (any longer) and fail to call the unchurched and fallen away back. And trust me, even at the funeral of strong Catholic families there are MANY who are fallen away. Add to that the fact that many funerals I celebrate are for people who themselves were not always fervent in the practice of the faith. Families of such as these have even more members in need of a sobering wake up call.

"...But in the end I cannot preach either to please or displease man. Rather, I have a conviction that this is what God would have me do. I cannot waste an opportunity to clearly warn, as Jesus often did, that judgment day is coming, and maybe sooner than you or I expect. We have to be ready for, at an hour that we do not expect the Son of Man will come (eg Mat 24:44).

~ To visit Msgr. Pope's blog post, click here. ~

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Remembering Faithful Departed Loved Ones

If hitherto we have thought too little of those “who have gone before us with the sign of faith,” if we have been like the rest of men wrapped up in the thought of self, immersed in the trifles of today, forgetful of those whose lives were once closely linked with ours, and should be still, now in the month of the Holy Souls we may “rise to better things,” to truer thoughts of life, to a deeper sense of the value of time, to a fuller understanding of the will of God in our regard, and especially to an appreciation, altogether new, of the solicitous service which the Church Militant on earth owes to the Church Suffering in Purgatory. Not because in serving others we shall most securely serve ourselves, nor yet because we hope to secure the gratitude of Saints who soon will reign with God in Heaven; but because those who are now in the cleansing fires are of our own flesh and blood, our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, we will do what we can to help them from this time forward, regretting if we have been negligent till now. It should be enough for us to know that those who have a claim upon our love are stretching out their hands to us for help, and crying: “Have pity on me!” Yet to remember the dead with anything beyond a transient thought is the exception, and to leave them in God’s hands to pay their debt, after making a few feeble efforts to help them in the first days of our bereavement, is the rule. Such conduct is almost as usual as it is unreasonable.

Those who thus forget parents and brethren and friends may fear that they will be in their turn forgotten, for God keeps His mercy for the merciful. While dear friends are with us we flatter ourselves that we love them with a disinterested love; that in doing them good service we are not thinking of ourselves at all; that we are even willing to submit to much inconvenience for their sake. And all the while it is too often our own satisfaction that we seek, even in our self-sacrifice, rendering kind offices, not for sake of the good we do thereby, but for the happiness which accrues to ourselves, as men give alms sometimes from no higher motive than is found in the pleasure of giving. It is not true that all human friendship is thus infected with selfishness, but a great deal of that which looks like the pure gold of charity is not such. The value of our friendship in the present may be estimated by its value in the past. Our treatment of the dead will serve us for the touchstone of the sincerity and purity of our affection. “The heart that has truly loved never forgets.” Those who once were dearly loved—our playmates in childhood, our chosen companions in later life, who sat at the same table, who knelt at the same shrine, who shared our joys and sorrows, and, it may be, now and again spoke to us of death and eternity, with wondering words about that other world, and who then passed from our sight into that other world—are they remembered now? Do we pray for them or to them? Or are they in good truth, if we must be honest with ourselves, really nothing more to us now than faces that look upon us in a dream? Is their connection with us a reality of our present life, or are they merely creatures of the past, belonging to a state of things which has vanished from our hearts and minds?

~ From Stories About Purgatory by TAN Books & Publishers, Inc. ~

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

St. Nicholas of Tolentino: Patron of Helpers of the Holy Souls Apostolate

"The heavens are not pure in the sight of Him Whom I serve;
how then shall I, a sinful man, stand before Him?"

~ Saint Nicholas of Tolentino ~

The Helpers of the Holy Souls is another worthy apostolate dedicated to helping the Souls in Purgatory. From their website we learn:

"Our primary aim is to have Masses, said by Priests, every day of the year for the Holy Souls. The Patron Saint of our Apostolate is Saint Nicholas of Tolentino; known as one of the great apostles of the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

"Our secondary aim is share our apostolate with others who have a desire to replicate what we are doing. They specifically include:

"◦How to go about gathering monthly collections to have Masses said for the Holy Souls on a regular basis and
◦Establishing new Purgatory Prayer Programs in the United States using our complimentary Prayer Packs if you want."

Their website includes the following information about their patron, St. Nicholas:

On a certain Saturday night while he lay in bed, St. Nicholas heard the voice of someone, a deceased friar who St. Nicholas had known. The friar revealed that he was in Purgatory and begged Nicholas to offer Mass for him and many other suffering souls so that they might be set free from their sorrows. Nicholas offered the Mass for them, with permission, all that week. At the end of that week his friend Friar Pellegrino appeared to him once again with gratitude for the great favor he had done and the assurance that a great number of the persons he had seen were now enjoying the presence of God.

On another day, St. Nicholas was in Church lighting a lamp before the Blessed Sacrament. A loud voice suddenly called to him. Nicholas was startled. Thinking it was the devil who wished to tempt him as he so often did, instead, it was his own blood brother, Gentile, who had died two weeks previously and now was informing him that a great miracle had occurred: The greatest of all miracles. The salvation of his soul. "Do not doubt, Nicholas, I am your brother, Gentile. Your prayers and your acts of penance have saved my soul from certain damnation."
( St. Nicholas of Tolentino by Michael DiGregorio, page 24-25, 2004, by Alba House)


~ To learn more about helping the Holy Souls, click here. ~

Monday, January 18, 2010

Muriel's Story: Inspiration for International Association to Help Souls in Purgatory

I recently learned about the Association of the Seven Helpers of the Holy Souls, begun on Nov. 2, 2007 by two "ordinary Catholics". Their aim in starting this worthy and inspired initiative is relief for the Holy Souls in Purgatory and personal sanctification of members--all for the glory of God.

Members of the Association dedicate one day of the week to alleviate the suffering of the Souls in Purgatory. As of December, 2009 the Association has 260+ members from over 20 countries and the founders are hoping to increase the number of members to 500 by the end of 2010.

In 1997 seven people in Australia started offering up one day of the week for the relief of the Souls in Purgatory. The true story of Muriel and the apparent fruit of her faithfulness in helping the faithful departed was the inspiration to start this international Association of the Seven Helpers of the Holy Souls.

"Muriel was ill in bed. As is the case with many poor souls on their deathbed, she was was a little afraid. Suddenly, there were hundreds of people walking past her bed. The crowds were coming out of the woods. She asked, "Who are you?" and a voice replied, "They are your Holy Souls, Muriel. They have come to thank you." They nodded at her in acknowledgement. They wanted her to keep praying for them, and not to forget them. They still needed prayers.

"She did not know any of the souls. She was surprised at that. There seemed to her hundreds of soldiers from the trenches of the First World War. There were a bride and groom together; all types of people from all walks of life. Some were from many years ago in olden day dress, and some were more recent."

~ To learn more about the Association

and to read Muriel's inspiring story in its entirety click here. ~




Sunday, January 17, 2010

Apparitions of Souls in Purgatory to St. Padre Pio

One evening Padre Pio was in a room, on the ground floor of the convent, turned guesthouse. He was alone and had just laid down on the cot when, suddenly, a man appeared to him wound in a black mantle. Padre Pio was amazed and arose to ask the man who he was and what he wanted. The stranger answered that he was a soul in Purgatory. “I am Pietro Di Mauro” he said “I died in a fire, on September 18, 1908, in this convent. In fact this convent, after the expropriation of the ecclesiastical goods, had been turned into a hospice for elderly. I died in the flames, while I was sleeping on my straw mattress, right in this room. I have come from Purgatory: God has granted me to come here and ask you to say Mass for me tomorrow morning. Thanks to one Mass I will be able to enter into Paradise”. Father Pio told the man that he would say Mass for him..., “but…“padre Pio said: “I, wanted to accompany him to the door of the convent. I surely realised I had talked to a dead person, in fact when we went out in the church square, the man that was at my side, suddenly disappeared”. I have to admit that I re-entered in the convent rather frightened. Padre Paolino of Casacalenda, Superior of the convent, noticed my nervousness, after explaining to him what happened, I asked “permission to celebrate Holy Mass for the deceased soul,” A few days later, Father Paolino, wanting to verify the information, went to the office of the registry of the commune of St. Giovanni Rotondo. He required and got the permission to consult the register of the deceased in the year 1908. The story of Father Pio Father was true. In the register of deaths of the month of September, Father Paolino found the name, last name and cause of death: “On September 18, 1908 in the fire of the hospice, Pietro Di Mauro died.”

Padre Pio told this story to Padre Anastasio. “One evening, while I was alone in choir to pray, I heard the rustle of a suit and I saw a young monk that stirred next to the High altar. It seemed that the young monk was dusting the candelabra and straightening the flower vases. I thought he was Padre Leone rearranging the altar, and, since it was supper time, I went to him and I told him: “Padre Leone, go to dine, this is not the time to dust and to straighten the altar”. But a voice, that was not Father Leone’s answered me”: “I am not Padre Leone”, “and who are you? “, I asked him. “I am a brother of yours that made the noviciate here. I was ordered to clean the altar during the year of the noviciate. Unfortunately many times I didn’t reverence Jesus while passing in front of the altar, thus causing the Holy Sacrament that was preserved in the tabernacle to be disrespected. For this serious carelessness, I am still in Purgatory. Now, God, with his endless goodness, sent me here so that you may quicken the time I will enjoy Paradise. Take care of me.” I believed to be generous to that suffering soul, so I exclaimed: “you will be in Paradise tomorrow morning, when I will celebrate Holy Mass”. That soul cried: “Cruel!” Then he wept and disappeared. That complaint produced in me a wound to the heart that I have felt and I will feel my whole life. In fact I would have been able to immediately send that soul to Heaven but I condemned him to remain another night in the flames of Purgatory.”
~ Information about St. Padre Pio found here. ~

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fr. Paul of Moll: Purgatory Till the End of the World

A subscriber to an irreligious journal having died at Saint-Michel, his wife would not give up the paper, although she refrained from reading it. Father Paul maintained for certain that the widow would have to remain long in purgatory, for having tolerated the introduction of a journal of that kind into her house. “There are souls condemned to stay in purgatory till the end of the world." Father Paul often asserted that the souls in purgatory who were delivered by his prayers came to thank him.

~Excerpt from Father Paul of Moll, by Edward Van Speybrouck, Tan Publishers~

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chaplet of the Holy Wounds for Souls in Purgatory

Our Lord to Sr. Mary Martha Chambon:

"My Holy Wounds sanctify souls and insure their spiritual advancement... Offer Me your actions united to My Sacred Wounds, and even the smallest will have an incomprehensible value.
Offer them often to Me for sinners because I thirst for souls. At each word of the invocation that you utter, I will let a drop of My Blood fall upon the soul of a sinner."
"When you offer My Holy Wounds for sinners, you must not forget to do so for the souls in Purgatory, as there are but few who think of their relief. The Holy Wounds are the treasure of treasures for the souls in Purgatory."

Chaplet of the Holy Wounds: (Use a 5 decade Rosary.)

The following prayers, composed by Our Lord, are to be said on the Our Father (large) beads:

- Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ-- to heal the wounds of our souls.

On the Hail Mary (small) beads:

- My Jesus, pardon and mercy-- through the merits of Thy Holy Wounds.

After 5 decades, you can finish it saying 3 times:

- Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ-- to heal the wounds of our souls.

Click to pray along with the Chaplet being recited at this site.

Promises of Our Lord for those who are Devoted to His Wounds - given to Sr. Mary Martha Chambon:

† At each word that you pronounce of the Chaplet of the Holy Wounds, I allow a drop of My Blood to fall upon the soul of a sinner.
† Each time that you offer to My Father the merits of My divine Wounds, you win an immense fortune.
† Souls that will have contemplated and honored My crown of thorns on earth, will be My crown of glory in Heaven!
† I will grant all that is asked of Me through the invocation of My Holy Wounds. You will obtain everything, because it is through the merit of My Blood, which is of infinite price. With My Wounds and My Divine Heart, everything can be obtained.
† From My Wounds proceed fruits of sanctity. As gold purified in the crucible becomes more beautiful, so you must put your soul and those of your companions into My sacred Wounds; there they will become perfected as gold in the furnace. You can always purify yourself in My Wounds.
† My Wounds will repair yours. My Wounds will cover all your faults. Those who honor them will have a true knowledge of Jesus Christ. In meditation on them, you will always find a new love. My wounds will cover all your sins.
† Plunge your actions into My Wounds and they will be of value. All your actions, even the least, soaked in My Blood, will acquire by this alone an infinite merit and will please My Heart.
† In offering My Wounds for the conversion of sinners, even though the sinners are not converted, you will have the same merit before God as if they were.
† When you have some trouble, something to suffer, quickly place it in My Wounds, and the pain will be alleviated.
† This aspiration must often be repeated near the sick: "My Jesus, pardon and mercy through the merits of Your Holy Wounds!" This prayer will solace soul and body.
† A sinner who will say the following prayer will obtain conversion: "Eternal Father, I offer You the Wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ to heal those of our souls."
† There will be no death for the soul that expires in My Holy Wounds; they give true life.
† This chaplet is a counterpoise to My justice; it restrains My vengeance.
† Those who pray with humility and who meditate on My Passion, will one day participate in the glory of My divine Wounds.
† The more you will have contemplated My painful Wounds on this earth, the higher will be your contemplation of them glorious in Heaven.
† The soul who during life has honored the Wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ and has offered them to the Eternal Father for the Souls in Purgatory, will be accompanied at the moment of death by the Holy Virgin and the angels; and Our Lord on the Cross, all brilliant in glory, will receive her and crown her.
† The invocations of the Holy Wounds will obtain an incessant victory for the Church.

(Nihil obstat: Rev. Terry Tekippe, Censor Librorum. Imprimatur: + Most Rev. Francis B. Shulte, Archbishop of New Orleans, 29 December 1989.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dominican Friars Pray the De Profundis for the Deceased

It is an annual tradition at the Dominican House of Studies that in November, the month when the Church remembers the dead, the Student Brothers visit the nearby cemetery of our deceased brethren and pray for them. During the rest of the year, Dominican Friars join in praying the De Profundis each night, before entering the refectory, with the names of the deceased for the day being read aloud.


Prayer for the Faithful Departed (De Profundis, Psalm 130)

Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication:

If You, O Lord, mark iniquities,
Lord, who can stand?
But with You is forgiveness,
that You may be revered.

I trust in the Lord;
my soul trusts in His word.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than sentinels wait for the dawn.

More than sentinels wait for the dawn,
let Israel wait for the Lord.
For with the Lord is kindness,
and with Him is plenteous redemption;
And He will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

St. Francis de Sales: Mercy for Souls in Purgatory

"To assist the souls in Purgatory
is to perform the most excellent of the works of mercy,
or rather it is to practice in a most sublime manner
all the works of mercy together."
~ St. Francis de Sales ~

Let us pray for all the faithful departed, especially for those who have died in Haiti as a result of the earthquake, for those who will die, and for all the suffering souls still buried alive under the rubble.

Litany for the Poor Souls in Purgatory

O Jesus, Thou suffered and died that all mankind might be saved and brought to eternal happiness. Hear our pleas for further mercy on the souls of:

My dear parents and grandparents, (Response: My Jesus, Mercy!)
My brothers and sisters and other near relatives,
My godparents and sponsors of Confirmation,
My spiritual and temporal benefactors,
My friends and neighbors,
All for whom love or duty bids me pray,
Those who have suffered disadvantage or harm through me,
Those who have offended me,
Those whose release is near at hand,
Those who desire most to be united to Thee,
Those who endure the greatest sufferings,
Those whose release is most remote,
Those who are least remembered
Those who are most deserving on account of their services to the Church,
The rich, who are now the most destitute,
The mighty, who are now powerless,
The once spiritually blind, who now see their folly M
The frivolous, who spent their time in idleness, y
The poor who did not seek the treasures of heaven,
The tepid who devoted little time to prayer, J
The indolent who neglected to perform good works, e
Those of little faith, who neglected the frequent reception of the Sacraments, s
The habitual sinners, who owe their salvation to a miracle of grace, u
Parents who failed to watch over their children, s
Superiors who were not solicitous for the salvation of those entrusted to them,
Those who strove for worldly riches and pleasures, M
The worldly minded, who failed to use their wealth and talent for the service of God, e
Those who witnessed the death of others, but would not think of their own, r
Those who did not provide for the life hereafter, c
Those whose sentence is severe because of the great things entrusted to them, y
The popes, kings, and rulers,
The bishops and their counselors,
My teachers and spiritual advisors,
The priests and religious of the Catholic Church,
The defenders of the Holy Faith,
Those who died on the battlefield,
Those who fought for their country,
Those who were buried in the sea,
Those who died of apoplexy,
Those who died of heart attacks,
Those who suffered and died of cancer,
Those who died suddenly in accidents,
Those who died without the last rites of the Church,
Those who shall die within the next twenty-four hours,
My own poor soul when I shall have to appear before Thy judgment seat,

PRAYER

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them: For evermore with Thy Saints, because Thou art gracious.

May the prayer of Thy suppliant people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, benefit the souls of Thy departed servants and handmaids: that Thou mayest both deliver them from all their sins, and make them to be partakers of Thy redemption. Amen.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine on them. Amen.

May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

With Ecclesiastical Approval


~ Litany from here ~

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Msgr. Charles Pope: Get Ready to Meet God!

"You are going to die. What are you and I doing to get ready to meet God? Too many people today are not coming to God's house...I exhort you to be ready to meet God...too many people today...are not praying. They're just goofing off, laughing their way through life--like everything's a big joke. They don't pray. They don't trust God. They're not in church on Sunday. They're in serious mortal sin, and they think they're going to be ready to meet God, and it does not work that way...Pray every day...be in church every Sunday...pray the Scriptures every day...repent...do not delay your conversion...do not go on calling good what God calls sinful...all of us need to renew our committment to Jesus Christ...none of us walk our Christian path perfectly...remember, you're going to meet God!"
~ Msgr. Charles Pope, from his video, Excerpt of Funeral Sermon ~

Monday, January 11, 2010

Love Has No Limits of Time or Place

"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 ~

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Universal Prayer of Pope Clement XI

Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.

I worship you as my first beginning,
I long for you as my last end,
I praise you as my constant helper,
And call on you as my loving protector.

Guide me by your wisdom,
Correct me with your justice,
Comfort me with your mercy,
Protect me with your power.

I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
My words: to have you for their theme;
My actions: to reflect my love for you;
My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.

I want to do what you ask of me:
In the way you ask,
For as long as you ask,
Because you ask it.

Lord, enlighten my understanding,
Strengthen my will,
Purify my heart,
and make me holy.

Help me to repent of my past sins
And to resist temptation in the future.
Help me to rise above my human weaknesses
And to grow stronger as a Christian.

Let me love you, my Lord and my God,
And see myself as I really am:
A pilgrim in this world,
A Christian called to respect and love
All whose lives I touch,
Those under my authority,
My friends and my enemies.

Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,
Greed by generosity,
Apathy by fervor.
Help me to forget myself
And reach out toward others.

Make me prudent in planning,
Courageous in taking risks.
Make me patient in suffering, unassuming in prosperity.

Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer,
Temperate in food and drink,
Diligent in my work,
Firm in my good intentions.

Let my conscience be clear,
My conduct without fault,
My speech blameless,
My life well-ordered.
Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish your love for me,
Keep your law,
And come at last to your salvation.

Teach me to realize that this world is passing,
That my true future is the happiness of heaven,
That life on earth is short,
And the life to come eternal.

Help me to prepare for death
With a proper fear of judgment,
But a greater trust in your goodness.
Lead me safely through death
To the endless joy of heaven.

Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fr. Paul O'Sullivan: How to Avoid Purgatory

TO AVOID PURGATORY, DO AS FOLLOWS:

1. In every prayer you say, every Mass you hear, every Communion you receive, every good work you perform, have the express intention of imploring God to grant you a holy and happy death and no Purgatory. Surely God will hear a prayer said with such confidence and perseverance.

2. Always wish to do God's will. It is in every sense the best for you. When you do or seek anything that is not God's will, you are sure to suffer. Say fervently, therefore, each time you recite the Our Father: "Thy will be done"

3. Accept all the sufferings, sorrows, pains and disappointments of life, be they great or small: ill health, loss of goods, the death of your dear ones, heat or cold, rain or sunshine, as coming from God. Bear them calmly and patiently for love of Him and in penance for your sins. Of course one may use all his efforts to ward off trouble and pain, but when one cannot avoid them let him bear them manfully.

Impatience and revolt make sufferings vastly greater and more difficult to bear.

4. Christ's life and actions are so many lessons for us to imitate.

The greatest act in His life was His Passion. As He had a Passion, so each one of us has a passion. Our passion consists in the sufferings and labours of every day. The penance God imposed on man for sin was to gain his bread in the sweat of his brow. Therefore, let us do our work, accept its disappointments and hardships, and bear our pains in union with the Passion of Christ. We gain more merit by a little pain than by years of pleasure.

5. Forgive all injuries and offences, for in proportion as we forgive others, God forgives us.

6. Avoid mortal sins and deliberate venial sins and break off all bad habits. Then it will be relatively easy to satisfy God's justice for sins of frailty. Above all, avoid sins against charity and against chastity, whether in thought, word or deed, for these sins [and the expiation for them] are the reason why many souls are detained in Purgatory for long years.

7. If afraid of doing much, do many little things, acts of kindness and charity, give the alms you can, cultivate regularity of life, method in work, and punctuality in the performance of duty; don't grumble or complain when things are not as you please; don't censure and complain of others; never refuse to do a favour to others when it is possible.

These and suchlike little acts are a splendid penance.

8. Do all in your power for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Pray for them constantly, get others to do so, join the Association of the Holy Souls and ask all those you know to do likewise. The Holy Souls will repay you most generously.

9. There is no way more powerful of obtaining from God a most holy and happy death than by weekly Confession, daily Mass and daily Communion.

10. A daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament--it need only be three or four minutes--is an easy way of obtaining the same grace. Kneeling in the presence of Jesus with eyes fixed on the Tabernacle, sure that He is looking at us, let us for a few minutes repeat some little prayer like these: "My Jesus, mercy." "My Jesus, have pity on me, a sinner" "My Jesus, I love You" "My Jesus, give me a happy death"

~ From How to Avoid Purgatory by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan,
Tan Books and Publishers

Friday, January 8, 2010

St. Nicholas of Tolentino: Patron of Souls in Purgatory

...in the year 1270 he was ordained a priest.

Shortly after his ordination, he had a vivid dream in which a deceased fellow Augustinian appeared to him and begged his help: “I am suffering in these flames, by which the good God, accepting my repentance, is mercifully purifying me. I beg you to celebrate a Mass of the Dead for me, so that I may be freed from my torments”.

Fr. Nicholas spent the night in prayer and next day he asked the Prior for permission to offer his Mass for a week on behalf of the suffering souls in Purgatory. He did so and soon afterwards the same priest appeared to him again and assured him that he and many other souls had been freed from Purgatory.

This incident convinced Nicholas of the need to pray incessantly for the souls in Purgatory, and to offer the sacrifice of the Mass for this purpose. It remained the outstanding characteristic of his spirituality. In 1275 he was appointed to the community in Tolentine and he remained there until his death on Sept. 10th, 1305.

He was much sought after as a confessor and spiritual director but it was as an advocate for the souls in Purgatory that he is now remembered, and is invoked as their patron. He was the first Augustinian to be canonised as a saint , in 1446, and 700 years after his death his remains are still venerated in the basilica dedicated in his honour in Tolentine. To very many he is revered as the Patron of the Holy Souls.
~ Information found here. ~

O, glorious St. Nicholas of Tolentino,
in whose prayers the suffering souls had such faith
that they revealed to you their pains in Purgatory,
and implored you to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
that the flames might be quenched
by the Precious Blood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ,
O glory of the Augustinian Order of the Church,
we beseech you to pray for us and for the suffering souls,
that they may be speedily delivered from the pains which their sins deserve,
and that we may one day rejoice with you and with them in Heaven. Amen.

~ From an old prayer leaflet ~

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fr. John Hardon: Helping the Souls in Purgatory

"Why? Why do we pray for the poor souls? Because, they need our prayers. One of the most devastating and tragic effects of the so-called Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, that Protestants stopped praying for the poor souls.

"Over the years it’s been my custom, first thing in the morning when I get up and the last thing at night before I fall asleep, to pray for the poor souls. Not a bad idea by the way, because, when we die, we’ll want somebody to pray for us. And, you can be sure, the first people who will pray for us are those who we have prayed for when they were in purgatory.

"Secondly, we should practice mortification: things go wrong, something we don’t like enters our lives, somebody says something that hurts us, we have a pain, whatever the inconvenience, we offer that for the poor souls. Then most surprisingly, but all good Catholic doctrine, we should invoke the poor souls. They cannot help themselves, but they can help us, and let’s be honest, we need all the help we can get."

Lord Jesus,
we believe, that the souls of your faithful departed do not yet see Your face,
but they believe and they’re absolutely sure they are reaching heaven.
Give us, dear Savior, such a great love for the poor souls, here on earth,
that if it is your will, we, oh dear Savior,
we hope, that when you call us from this life into eternity,
we will not have to be in purgatory, but enter from the sorrows of this life,
enter the joys prepared for those who love You on earth with their whole heart. Amen.

~ Servant of God Fr. John Hardon ~


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Souls in Purgatory Desire Only What God Wants

"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 they 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."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Father Paul of Moll: Gratitude of Souls in Purgatory

"The souls in purgatory had a great comforter in Father Paul. 'One day,' he told us, I was very sick in my cell, and leaning with my elbow on the back of my chair, I heard quite close to me, groans and lamentations. I turned around and beheld a soul enveloped in flames and completely tied up with chains. This soul asked me to remember her in my prayers, and especially in the holy sacrifice of the Mass. I said to her, 'Pray for me; I shall pray for you.' At that very instant the soul disappeared and I found myself cured. Shortly afterwards this soul was released and came to thank me.' "

A merchant was on the point of having recourse to a banker, but he thought it best to consult Father Paul first. For my part," he replied, I would rather address myself to the souls in purgatory than the banker, for these souls are always grateful when we pray for their release, and they then obtain from God all we ask and even more."
~ Excerpts from Father Paul of Moll ~
by Edward van Speybrouck, Tan Books and Publishers ~

Monday, January 4, 2010

Human Tendency Toward Mediocrity

"We have to come to terms with the fact that it is possible for a just man to die without having attained the level of spiritual maturity which is necessary to live in immediate communion with God. In other words, we need to recognize the human tendency toward mediocrity. Wouldn't it be nice if human freedom were capable of good and evil only in the highest degree, without reserve, without resistance? But that is not the case."

"Dear Lord, help us to be utterly grateful for your unfathomable mystery of Purgatory, for the merciful delay of suffering by which you make up for our faults and complete the work that we do not finish in our earthly lives."

~ Read the rest of Fr. Stephen Torraco's excellent article, The Mystery of Purgatory ~

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Catholic Dogma: The Reality of Purgatory

St. Padre Pio knew more than most people about Purgatory and the souls who wait there for their release. He obtained permission from his spiritual director to offer himself as victim for sinners and for souls in Purgatory. He suffered the wounds of Christ in his own body for fifty years, along with countless other sufferings. Despite overflow crowds at his Masses, he said, “More souls of the dead from Purgatory than of the living…attend my Masses and seek my prayers.”

The existence of Purgatory and the need for souls to be perfectly pure before seeing God in the Beatific Vision is a dogma of the Catholic faith. A dogma is something we are expected to believe as Catholics. Unfortunately, many Catholics no longer believe this dogma, or do not take it seriously. At many funerals the faithful departed are unofficially “canonized”. It is comforting for the bereaved to believe their loved ones are already enjoying heavenly bliss, but the truth is we do not know if that is the case. The Catholic Church takes very seriously the process of canonization. It is a long, exacting process. St. Pio said, “…we must always pray. If they no longer need prayers, they are applied to other souls."

Dogma:
The souls of the just which, in the moment of death, are burdened with venial sins or temporal punishment due to sins, enter Purgatory. (De fide.)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Prayer of Sacrifice for the Poor Souls in Purgatory

Almighty, Eternal God! Because it is Your Will that we pray for the Poor Souls, I offer You, through Mary's most unblemished hands, all the Masses that are celebrated today, for Your highest honor and for the redemption of the souls in Purgatory. Humbly, I beg of You, erase their guilt through the overly rich merits of Your Most Beloved Son and have mercy on them. For the restitution of the praise, the love, the honor, the thanks, and the merits that these souls neglected to show and to gather, I offer You all the praise, the love, the honor, the thanks, and the troubles of Your Son through which He honored You while here in the world.

In reparation for all neglects and tepidity, which these souls committed, I offer You the glowing zeal with which Your Son did all His works here on earth and which are now renewed and brought to You in all Holy Masses.

In reparation for all mistakes and all that was left undone by these souls, I offer You all virtues which Your Son practiced in totality and which He now still practices and completes in all Holy Masses.

For the cleansing of all stains of sin that these souls still show, I offer You the Sacred Blood which Your Son shed while here on earth and which He now renews and continues in all Holy Masses.

As discharge from all punishments and torments, which these souls endure, I offer You the bitter Passion and Death of Your most Beloved Son, which He now renews and continues in all Holy Masses.

For their rescue from the burning dungeon, I offer You the infinite merits which Your Son earned on earth and which He now still exercises and distributes in all Holy Masses.

Finally, in order to do enough to fulfill Your strict justice, I offer You all virtues and merits which the entire life, suffering, and death of Your most Beloved Son, His holiest Mother, all saints and chosen ones who together suffered more than the dear Poor Souls left undone. Amen
~ Prayer found here. ~

Friday, January 1, 2010

St. Faustina's Prayers Help Souls in Purgatory

"One night, a sister who had died two months previously came to me. She was a sister of the first choir. I saw her in a terrible condition, all in flames with her face painfully distorted. This lasted only a short time, and then she disappeared. A shudder went through my soul because I did not know whether she was suffering in purgatory or in hell. Nevertheless, I redoubled my prayers for her. The next night she came again, but I saw her in an even more horrible state, in the midst of flames which were even more intense, and despair was written all over her face. I was astonished to see her in a worse condition after the prayers I had offered for her, and I asked, ‘Haven’t my prayers helped you?’ She answered that my prayers had not helped her and that nothing would help her. I said to her, ‘And the prayers which the whole community has offered for you, have they not been any help to you?’ She said no, that these prayers have helped some other souls. I replied, ‘If my prayers are not helping you, Sister, please stop coming to me.’ She disappeared at once. Despite this, I kept on praying.

"After some time she came back again to me during the night, but already her appearance had changed. There were no longer any flames, as there had been before, and her face was radiant, her eyes beaming with joy. She told me that I had a true love for my neighbor and that many other souls had profited from my prayers. She urged me not to cease praying for the souls in purgatory, and she added that she herself would not remain there much longer. How astounding are the decrees of God!"

~ Saint Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, 58 ~