Thursday, October 28, 2010

Indulgences for Souls in Purgatory

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

~  From EWTN:  General Conditions for Receiving Indulgences ~ 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

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

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

~ St. Jean Vianney ~

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Resurrection Reminders

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

~ Blessed Junipero Serra ~

Monday, October 25, 2010

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

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

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

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Grateful Intercession of Souls in Purgatory for Their Friends


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 22, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

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

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

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

~ St. Paul of the Cross ~

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 18, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Excerpts from here ~

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

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

Saturday, October 16, 2010

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

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

~ Previous posts on St. Margaret Mary ~

Friday, October 15, 2010

St. Teresa of Avila: Confidence in Divine Providence

"Remember that you have only one soul;
that you have only one death to die;
 that you have only one life, which is short and has to be lived by you alone;
and there is only one Glory, which is eternal.
If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing. "

~ St. Teresa of Avila ~

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fr. William Casey: Justification by Faith AND Works

"...there are some things, there really are some things that we're going to take with us when we have left this passing world--for example, the spiritual fruits of our faith, our prayers, our good works, the treasures that we have stored up in Heaven; and in a sense it is true to say that God is going to let us keep only as much as we were willing to give away in life, and what a terrible thing it would be to have to stand in judgement before God empty-handed."

~ Fr. William Casey ~

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fr. John Bartunek: Indulgences are a True Doctrine of the Church

"I want to start with two clarifications. First of all, one reader referred to the older practice of linking indulgences with particular numbers of “days” in purgatory. That practice has been officially phased out, not because it was doctrinally false, but because it was so easily misunderstood. It fostered the kind of mathematical piety that some of our readers are rightly uncomfortable with. The current practice is much simplified. The popes grant indulgences for certain pious actions (praying the stations of the cross, lifting your heart to God during the day, reading the Scriptures each day…), but they no longer assign numbers of days. Rather, they are simply partial or full indulgences.
"This means that they can help make reparation for our sins and those of the faithful who are now in purgatory. The Church doesn’t want us to think of salvation as a math problem that we can calculate and manipulate. And yet, the Church recognizes that our active love for God and neighbor can make a real positive impact on our souls and those of our brothers and sisters. Indulgences are simply one expression of this beautiful aspect of God’s plan for salvation.

"And that brings us to the second clarification. Indulgences are not merely an expression of popular piety. Expressions of popular piety, like pilgrimages, novenas to saints, and prayer vigils, are encouraged by the Church insofar as they help some of us stay energetic in our pursuit of holiness. But they are entirely optional.

"Even the Rosary (probably the most popular of all) is entirely optional, though it has been strongly recommended by every pope since the start of the twentieth century. Even approved Marian apparitions (Fatima, Lourdes, Guadalupe…) are not an integral part of the Catholic faith. No Catholic has to believe in them or be devoted to them. They belong to what is known as private revelations.

"Whereas doctrines like the Resurrection of Christ and the Immaculate Conception are not optional. They are integral parts of Revelation, and knowingly rejecting them is a sin against faith. Indulgences are closer to this side of the spectrum; they are both a doctrine and a practice. In other words, believing in indulgences is not optional. It is taught by the teaching authority of the Church as a true doctrine, as integrally related to Revelation. So, even if some of us don’t like the doctrine and the practice, even if we don’t try to obtain them, we must accept the truth of indulgences as part of our faith.

~ Fr John Bartunek, excerpt from his series on Indulgences and Purgatory ~

Saturday, October 9, 2010

St. Peter Damian: How a Poor Boy Became a Bishop, Cardinal and Saint

St. Peter Damian lost both father and mother shortly after his birth. One of his brothers adopted him, but treated him with unnatural harshness, forcing him to work hard and giving him poor food and scanty clothing.

One day Peter found a silver piece, which represented to him a small fortune. A friend told him that he could conscientiously use it for him self, as the owner could not be found.

The only difficulty Peter had was to choose what it was he most needed, for he was in sore need of many things.

While turning the matter over in his young mind, it struck him that he could do a still better thing, viz., have a Mass said for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, especially for the souls of his dear parents. At the cost of a great sacrifice, he put this thought into effect and had the Mass offered.

The Holy Souls repaid his sacrifice most generously. From that day forward a complete change became noticeable in his fortunes.

His eldest brother called at the house where he lived and, horrified at the brutal hardships the little fellow was subjected to, arranged that he be handed over to his own care. He clad him and fed him as his own child, and educated and cared for him most affectionately. Blessing followed upon blessing. Peter's wonderful talents became known, and he was rapidly promoted to the priesthood; sometime after he was raised to the episcopacy and, finally, created Cardinal. Miracles attested his great sanctity, so that after death he was canonized and made a Doctor of the Church.

These wonderful graces came to him after that one Mass said for the Holy Souls.

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

Friday, October 8, 2010

Litany of the Precious Blood of Jesus

~ Read related post about the value of the Precious Blood of Jesus for souls here. ~

Thursday, October 7, 2010

St. Leonard of Port Maurice: "No One Goes To Hell Unless He Wants To"

"What is the use of knowing whether few or many are saved? Saint Peter says to us, "Strive by good works to make your election sure." When Saint Thomas Aquinas's sister asked him what she must do to go to heaven, he said, "You will be saved if you want to be." I say the same thing to you, and here is proof of my declaration. No one is damned unless he commits mortal sin: that is of faith. And no one commits mortal sin unless he wants to: that is an undeniable theological proposition. Therefore, no one goes to hell unless he wants to; the consequence is obvious. Does that not suffice to comfort you? Weep over past sins, make a good confession, sin no more in the future, and you will all be saved. Why torment yourself so? For it is certain that you have to commit mortal sin to go to hell, and that to commit mortal sin you must want to, and that consequently no one goes to hell unless he wants to. That is not just an opinion, it is an undeniable and very comforting truth; may God give you to understand it, and may He bless you. Amen."

~ From Sermon by St. Leonard of  Port Maurice ~

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fr. John Bartunek: An Explanation of Indulgences and Purgatory

"Our life on earth is a spiritual war. Our selfishness and sins not only offend God (the offense that confession removes, as God grants us his forgiveness), but they also do damage to our souls. They form and deepen spiritual habits, tendencies, and attitudes that are contrary to the gospel. And that damage needs to be repaired; every last scrap of selfishness and sinfulness has to be removed, or purified, before we are able to live in the perfect intimacy with God that heaven requires."

"This purification can happen either in this life, or after we die. If it happens after we die, it is called purgatory – the state in which all remaining selfishness is purged from our souls."

"Through the favor granted by an indulgence, God’s mercy permits this purification to happen more quickly than otherwise. Instead of having to suffer through the purification oneself, in other words, purification is obtained through the suffering already undergone by Christ and the saints. Indulgences can’t free souls from hell, but they can speed up the purification process for oneself or for souls in purgatory, by remitting this temporal punishment (the restorative purification) that personal sins create the need for. There are two types of indulgences: partial, which repairs some of the self-damage caused by sin, or plenary, which repairs all of the damage."

"The bottom line, however, is charity, love. Obtaining indulgences for souls suffering in purgatory exercises true supernatural love for neighbors whom we may never meet till our family feast in heaven. And when we exercise true, supernatural love, it grows – nothing matters more than that."

~ Fr. John Bartunek, LC, excerpts from here and here. ~

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Holy Souls Protect Priests From Bandits

A group of priests was called to Rome to treat of a grave business matter. They were bearers of important documents, and a large sum of money was entrusted to them for the Holy Father. Aware that the Apennines, over which they had to pass, were infested by daring bandits, they chose a trusty driver. There was no tunnel through the mountains nor train in those days.

They placed themselves under the protection of the Holy Souls and decided to say a De Profundis every hour for them.

When right in the heart of the mountains, the driver gave the alarm and at the same time lashed the horses into a furious gallop. Looking around, the priests saw fierce bandits at each side of the road with rifles aimed, ready to fire. They were amazed that no shot rang out. They were completely at the mercy of the bandits.

After an hour's headlong flight, the driver stopped and, looking at the priests, said: "I can not understand how we escaped. These desperadoes never spare anyone."

The Fathers were convinced that they owed their safety to the Holy Souls, a fact that was afterwards confirmed beyond doubt.

When their business was concluded in Rome, one of their number was detained in the Eternal City, where he was appointed chaplain to a prison Not long after, one of the fiercest brigands in Italy was captured, condemned to death for a long series of murders and was awaiting execution in this prison.

Anxious to gain his confidence, the chaplain told him of several adventures he himself had had and, finally, of his recent escape in the Apennines. The criminal manifested the greatest interest in the story. When it was ended, he exclaimed: "I was the leader of that band! We thought that you had money and we determined to rob and murder you. An invisible force prevented each and all of us from firing, as we assuredly would have done had we been able."

The chaplain then told the brigand of how they had placed themselves under the protection of the Holy Souls, and that they ascribed their deliverance to their protection.

The bandit found no difficulty in believing it. In fact, it made his conversion more easy. He died full of repentance.

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

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tribute to St. Therese

"My mission,to make God loved, will begin after my death.
I will spend my heaven doing good on earth.
I will send a shower of roses."

“The only thing I really wish for to love until I die of love.”

~ St. Thérèse ~

~ Previous posts on St. Therese here ~