Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
In 1927 Jesus complained to Blessed Dina Belanger about Catholics doing little or no penance during Advent:
"I have need of reparation. The justice of My Father is enkindled. Offer to My Father My merits and My Blood to appease the arm of His Justice. How many Catholics concern themselves little or not at all with penance during the season of Advent! How many Catholics neglect to prepare for My coming at Christmas! Give Me your day, today, in spirit of atonement. Offer it also in Thanksgiving to My Father for all the graces He bestows on souls; for there are so many who never think of thanking Him."
Friday, November 26, 2010
A poor servant girl in France named Jeanne Marie once heard a sermon on the Holy Souls which made an indelible impression on her mind. She was deeply moved by the thought of the intense and unceasing sufferings the Poor Souls endure, and she was horrified to see how cruelly they are neglected and forgotten by their friends on Earth.
Among other things the preacher stressed was that many souls who are in reality near to their release -- one Mass might suffice to set them free -- are oftentimes long detained; it may be for years, just because the last needful suffrage has been withheld or forgotten or neglected!
With her simple faith, Jeanne Marie resolved that, cost what it might, she would have a Mass said for the Poor Souls every month, especially for the soul nearest to Heaven. She earned little, and it was sometimes difficult to keep her promise, but she never failed.
On one occasion she went to Paris with her mistress and there fell ill, so that she was obliged to go to the hospital. Unfortunately, the illness proved to be a long one, and her mistress had to return home, hoping that her maid would soon rejoin her. When at last the poor servant was able to leave the hospital, all she had left of her scanty earnings was one franc!
What was she to do? Where to turn? Suddenly, the thought flashed across her mind that she had not had her usual monthly Mass offered for the Holy Souls. But she had only one franc! That was little enough to buy her food. Yet her confidence that the Holy Souls would not fail her triumphed. She made her way into a church and asked a priest, just about to say Mass, if he would offer it for the Holy Souls. He consented to do so, never dreaming that the modest alms offered was the only money the poor girl possessed. At the conclusion of the Holy Sacrifice, our heroine left the church. A wave of sadness clouded her face; she felt utterly bewildered.
A young gentleman, touched by her evident distress, asked her if she was in trouble and if he could help her. She told her story briefly, and ended by saying how much she desired work.
Somehow she felt consoled at the kind way in which the young man listened to what she said, and she fully recovered her confidence.
"I am delighted beyond measure, " he said, "to help you. I know a lady who is even now looking for a servant. Come with me. " And so saying he led her to a house not far distant and bade her ring the bell, assuring her that she would find work.
In answer to her ring, the lady of the house herself opened the door and inquired what Jeanne Marie required. "Madam, " she said, "I have been told that you are looking for a servant. I have no work and should be glad to get the position. "
The lady was amazed and replied: "Who could have told you that I needed a servant? It was only a few minutes ago that I had to dismiss my maid, and that at a moment's notice. You did not meet her?"
"No, Madam. The person who informed me that you required a servant was a young gentleman. "
"Impossible!" exclaimed the lady. "No young man, in fact no one at all, could have known that I needed a servant. "
"But Madam, " the girl answered excitedly, pointing to a picture on the wall, "that is the young man who told me!"
"Why, child, that is my only son, who has been dead for more than a year!"
"Dead or not, " asserted the girl with deep conviction in her voice, "it was he who told me to come to you, and he even led me to the door. See the scar over his eye; I would know him anywhere. "
Then followed the full story of how, with her last franc, she had had Mass offered for the Holy Souls, especially for the one nearest to Heaven.
Convinced at last of the truth of what Jeanne Marie had told her, the lady received her with open arms. "Come, " she said, "though not as my servant, but as my dear daughter. You have sent my darling boy to Heaven. I have no doubt that it was he who brought you to me. "
~ Excerpt from Read Me Or Rue It by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P. ~
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
"There is a place for niceness and ordinary human kindness. But the point is that holiness cannot be reduced to this. There are times where holiness demands that we speak out strongly and unambiguously. True holiness will lead us increasingly to live in a way that others will often find an irritant. Perhaps our radical simplicity and generosity will prick their conscience. Perhaps our deep devotion to God will cause them to feel uneasy. Perhaps our moral positions will offend their politics or worldly ethics. Our mentioning of a day of judgment that looms may incite their anger. And so forth…. We do not seek conflict, but conflict finds us. The world demands that we back down and be nice, that we get along better.
"Holiness is not of this world. True holiness brings an increasingly radical transformation that makes the recipient seem to be a foreigner in this world who speaks with a strange accent and has foreign ways. He does not fit into simple political distinctions, does not conform to worldly categories. True holiness ignites a fire in the recipient and fire changes everything it touches. In the end no one remains neutral to a truly holy person. Either they complain of the heat or draw warmth, but no one is neutral."
~ Msgr. Charles Pope: excerpt from here ~
Sunday, November 21, 2010
32. Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for his kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education.
33. The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.
~ Excerpt from QUAS PRIMAS
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI ON THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING ~
Friday, November 19, 2010
LITANY OF OUR LADY OF MONTLIGEON
LIBERATOR AND GATE OF HEAVEN
Lord, have mercy on our departed brothers and sisters,
especially those in most need of your mercy.
Christ, have mercy on our departed brothers and sisters.,
especially those in most need of your mercy.
Lord, have mercy on our departed brothers and sisters,
especially those in most need of your mercy.
Mary, daughter of the Eternal Father,
help our departed brothers and sisters.
Mary, mother of the Saviour of Mankind,
Mary, temple of the Holy Spirit,
Mary, chosen by God from all eternity,
Mary, sung by the Prophets,
Mary, dawn of the Sun of Justice,
Mary, born without original sin,
Mary, whose body never knew the corruption of the tomb,
Mary, whom Jesus clothed with His glory,
Mary, whose throne is near that of Jesus.
Mary, Queen of the Angels,
Mary, Queen of all Saints,
Mary, Queen of Heaven and earth,
Mary, dispenser of God’s graces,
Mary, pledge of salvation for those who invoke you,
Mary, whose name inspires confidence,
Mary, whose hand is always blessing,
Mary, reflection of Jesus’ heart,
Mary. model of faith and humility,
Mary, model of the interior life,
Mary, model of submission to God’s will
Mary, model of all virtues.
Mary, honour of mankind.
Mary, who watches over us in all our needs.
Mary, who snatched away the infant Jesus
from Herod’s fury.
Mary, who shared the sufferings of the
Redeemer of mankind.
Mary, who followed Jesus up to Calvary.
Mary, who offered Jesus for our salvation.
Mary, whose heart was pierced by a sword.
Virgin, full of compassion.
Mediatrix of peace between God and men.
Our advocate near God.
Source of life.
Safety of orphans.
Haven of sinners.
Help of the dying.
Hope of the desperate.
Gate of Heaven.
Providence of the unfortunate.
Consolation of the afflicted.
Our Lady of Consolation,
Our Lady of Mercy,
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour,
Our Lady the Liberator,
Our Lady of Hope,
Our Lady of Montligeon.
Our Lady of Montligeon, come to the aid of our departed brothers and sisters.
So that they may be made worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.
LORD, OUR GOD,
THROUGH THE INTERCESSION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY,
EXTEND YOUR MERCY TO OUR DEPARTED BROTHERS AND SISTERS,
HELP US, WITH YOUR GRACE, TO PERSEVERE ON THE PATH OF ETERNAL LIFE WHERE WE WILL BE UNITED IN YOUR LOVE.
THROUGH JESUS CHRIST …
~ From Our Lady of Montligeon Shrine website 2/2/2006 ~
Thursday, November 18, 2010
"While you are still on earth, it is impossible to understand what God demands of a soul expiating its sins in Purgatory. You are under the impression that many prayers, well said, will place a soul almost at once in possession of eternal happiness. It is nothing of the kind. Who can fathom the judgments of God? Who can understand how pure a soul must be before He admits it to share His eternal happiness? Alas, if people only knew, if they would only consider it while still on earth, what different lives they would lead!"
~ Sr. M.G, a soul from Purgatory: excerpt from An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory~
"Not only do modern people think little of death, but even less do we think of the judgment to follow. The Book of Hebrews says, It is appointed to man to die once, and after this the judgment (Heb 9:27). Even Church-going Catholic largely pass over any notion of judgment after death. This is most evident at Catholic funerals which are dominated by gleeful canonizations of the deceased and never a mention of jjudgment or the need to pray for the one who has died. Our neglect to pray for the dead is a terrible dereliction of duty."
"Hence we must live our lives in readiness. Our central priorities must be prayer, the reading of Scripture and other spiritual works, devotion to the Sacraments, holy fellowship and weekly Mass. We must repent of serious sins and seek seriously to grow in holiness. Scripture says that we must Strive for peace with all men, and that holiness: without which no one shall see God (Heb 12:14). Some of us have to bury the hatchet and offer forgiveness to others for the Lord warns sternly, If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matt 6:15) and James also warns: Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful (James 2:13). We cannot go on living in presumption that the judgment we face is of little account for Scripture gives no basis for such a casual attitude. Neither should we despair for God is rich in mercy and does not spurn those who are humble and contrite. Perhaps the best approach is simply to have a kind of sobriety about the fact that we will all face judgment and to thoughtfully prepare for it.
"A word about the nature of judgment we face. None of us can say for sure what that moment will be like. However it would seem that the key word to describe what must go on is “honesty.” In that moment, before the Lord, all masks will be removed. All the little excusing lies we like to tell ourselves will be set aside. We will see ourselves as we really are. Perhaps too we will also see more clearly some of the grief and trouble we have been carrying and have a truth compassion for our self even as we have a sober understanding of our faults and incompleteness. For a true believer the judgment is not simply between heaven and hell, but even more so, an assessment of what remains incomplete in us. The Lord promised us perfection (Matt 5:48) and St. Paul wrote: May God who has begun a good work in you bring it to completion (Phil 1:6). Hence our judgment must also certainly include the question of what, if anything, remains incomplete in us. For it is impossible that a promise of God would remain incomplete for us or anything be less than perfect. Whatever is judged to be incomplete or imperfect is set right in purgatory which is for us not against us."
~ Msgr. Charles Pope: excerpt from here--worthwhile reading. ~
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
As Gertrude prayed for the repose of the soul of Brother Hermann, a lay brother lately deceased, she inquired what his state was; and Our Lord replied: He is now present, and I have granted himthis favor in return for earnest prayers which have been made for him - I have invited him to assist at this feast. Then she saw Our Lord, as the father of a family, seated at a table, on which were placed all the prayers, oblations, desires, ect., which had been offered for this brother. The soul stood sad and dejected at one end of the table, for he was not yet sufficiently purified to behold the loving countenance of Our Lord; but he soon appeared exceedingly refreshed and comforted by what he beheld before him.
The saint observed with some surprise that the effect of these offerings came to him directly from the offerings themselves, and not as usual from Our Lord, who generally appeared to her to present the souls with the offerings made for them with great joy; but Our Lord sometimes, of His own goodness and in consideration of the merits of those who prayed for him, gave him some consolation Himself, which imparted great satisfaction to the soul.
The Blessed Virgin sat as queen beside her Divine Son, and appeared also to place some gifts on the table, as a reward for the particular devotion which this soul had for her when on earth. The Saints to whom he had been devout also made offerings for him; and by these things, and the earnest love with which they were presented before God, the countenance of the brother became hourly more serene and joyful, and he slowly raised his eyes to gaze upon that blessed Light, which when It is once beheld, imparts eternal joy, and causes all former sorrow to be forgotten.
"But", she continued, "what advantage do you gain from our desire to give you the merit of all the good works which God enables us to perform?" He answered "They are of great utility to me, for they adorn my soul." St Gertrude replied: "But if any person deferred the prayer which they proposed to offer for you on account of sickness, would you suffer from it?" The soul answered: "Delays, which are the result of prudence , do not harm us unless they are caused by negligence." She continued:"Were you nit injured by our prayers during your sickness, as we asked more earnestly for your recovery than for the grace of a happy death? The soul replied: "This did not harm me, for I discovered therein the immense goodness of God, whose tender mercies are over all His works (Ps 144:9), as He was moved to do me even more good from beholding your affection for me". "But will tears shed for you through human affection do you harm?" he answered: "These tears are to me as the kindness of a friend who consoles his friend when in affliction. And when I am in enjoyment of perfect happiness, it will give me as much joy as the congratulations by my faithfulness in your service, which has gained your affection for me."
As Gertrude observed that the soul still continued in the same position, she said to him: "For what fault have you suffered most?" He replied: "For self will and self opinionatedness; for when I did any kindness for others I would not do as they wished, but as I wished myself; and so much do I suffer for this, that if the mental agonies of all mankind were united in one person, he would not endure more more than I do at present." She replied: "And what remedy will be most efficacious for you?" He answered: "To perform acts of the contrary virtue, and to avoid committing the same fault." "But in the meantime, inquired Gertrude ", what will afford you the greatest relief?" He replied: "The fidelity which I practiced toward others when on earth consoles me most. The prayers which are offered continually for me by my friends solace me as good news would solace a person in affliction. each tone of the chant at Mass, or in the vigils which are said for me, seem to me as a most delicious reflection. All that is done for me by others, with a pure intention for God's glory, such as working, and even sleeping or eating, affords me great relief and shortens my sufferings, on account of fidelity with which I labored for others."
On another occasion, when St. Gertrude recited the Pater noster for the same soul, she observed, to her extreme surprise, that his sufferings appeared greatly increased when she repeated the words: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us". As she inquired the reason of this suffering, he replied: "When I was in the world, I offended God frequently by my unwillingness to forgive those who injured me in any way; and even when I had forgiven them I showed my resentment by a grave manner when I met them; and I suffer for this when ever these words are repeated for me." "And how long will you suffer thus?" inquired the Saint, The soul replied: "I shall suffer until I am entirely purified; but henceforth, by the mercy of God, whenever you say this prayer for me, I shall retain great relief thereby."
When Mass was offered for this soul, he appeared radiant with light and transported with joy. Then Gertrude said to Our Lord;"Is this soul now entirely freed from its sufferings?" Our Lord answered: He is already freed from much suffering, and no human being can form an idea of his glory; but he is not yet so perfectly purified as to be worthy to enjoy My presence, though He is approaching nearer and nearer to this purity by the prayers which are offered for him and he is more consoled and relieved. He added: His obstinacy in following his own will, and his disinclination to submit to the will of others, have prevented him from obtaining relief from your prayers as speedily as he would otherwise have done.
~ Excerpt from The Life and Revelations of Saint Gertrude the Great ~
Monday, November 15, 2010
"Could you pass by a terribly suffering soul?
Offer the merits of Christ for souls
that they may pass through final purgation and enter eternal life."
~ Fr. Samuel Medley ~
~ Fr. Samuel Medley ~
Fr. Samuel Medley's homily: Heart of Christ: Refuge of Souls in Purgatory
Fr. Medley's excellent homilies and links to his other sites are at Magnificat Anima Mea Domino.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Venerable Mother Frances of the Blessed Sacrament had from her infancy the greatest devotion towards the suffering souls, and persevered therein as long as she lived. She was all heart, all devotion towards those poor and holy souls. To assist them she daily recited her Rosary, which she was accustomed to call her almoner, and she ended each decade with the Requiescant in pace. On feast-days, when she had more free time, she added the Office of the Dead. To prayer she joined penances, The greater part of the year she fasted on bread and water, and on vigils she practised other austerities. She had to endure much labour and fatigue, pain and persecution. All these works were turned into profit for the holy souls, Frances offering all to God for their relief.
Not content with assisting them herself as far as was in her power, she engaged others to do the same. If priests came to the convent, she begged for Masses for them ; if they were laymen, she advised them to distribute abundant alms for the faithful departed. In recompense for her charity, God frequently permitted the souls to visit her, either to solicit her suffrages or to return her thanks. Witnesses have testified that several times they visibly waited for her at the door when she was going to the Office of Matins, that they might recommend themselves to her prayers. At other times they entered her cell in order to present their request to her; they surrounded her bed, waiting until she awoke. These apparitions, to which she was accustomed, caused her no fear, and that she might not think herself the sport of a dream or a dupe of the devil, they said on entering, " Hail, servant of God, spouse of the Lord ! may Jesus Christ be ever with you !" Then they testified their veneration for a large cross and the relics of the saints which their benefactress kept in her cell. If they found her reciting the Rosary, add the same witnesses, they took her hands and kissed them lovingly, as the instrument of their deliverance.
~ Excerpt from Purgatory: illustrated by the lives and legends of the saints by Fr. F.X. Shouppe, S.J. ~
Friday, November 12, 2010
THOSE WHO EARNESTLY HELP THE HOLY SOULS MAY WELL HOPE TO AVOID PURGATORY
The Holy Souls whom we relieve or release by our Masses and good works pray for us with such indescribable fervour that God cannot refuse to hear their prayers. One of the principal graces they ask for their friends is that these shall have little or no Purgatory. No one knows better than they the awful intensity of the Purgatorial flames; no one, therefore, can pray for us as they do. Let us remember that:
a) God thanks as done to Himself what we do to others. When we relieve or release any of the Holy Souls, we relieve or release, as it were, God Himself. How ready, therefore, will He not be to hear the prayers offered by these souls for us.
b) Our Blessed Lord lays down clearly the great law: "By that measure by which you measure, it will be measured to you again" In proportion, consequently, to our generosity towards the Holy Souls will God's mercy and generosity be towards us. Those who work heart and soul for the relief of the Holy Souls may thus well hope that their Purgatory will be entirely remitted, or notably lessened. On the other hand, those who neglect the Holy Souls may justly fear a severe judgment and a long Purgatory.
~ Excerpt from How to Avoid Purgatory by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan ~
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
“Let us live with God as with a Friend. Let us make our faith a living thing, so as to remain in communion with Him through everything. That is how saints are made. We carry our heaven within us, since He who completely satisfies every longing of the glorified souls in the light of the Beatific Vision, is giving Himself to us in faith and mystery. It is the same thing. It seems to me I have found my heaven on earth, since heaven is God and God is in my soul. The day I understood that, everything became clear to me, and I wish I could whisper this secret to those I love in order that they also might cling closely to God through everything."
~ Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity ~
Sunday, November 7, 2010
"If at any time you feel uneasy at the thought of our sister death because you see yourself to be such a poor creature, take heart. Heaven awaits us. And consider: what will it be like when all the infinite beauty and greatness, and happiness and Love of God will be poured into the poor clay vessel that the human being is, to satisfy it eternally with the freshness of an ever new joy?"
~ St. Josemaria Escriva, excerpt from Furrow, 891 ~
"Prayer gives us strength for great ideals,
for keeping up our faith, charity, purity, generosity;
prayer gives us strength to rise up from indifference and guilt,
if we have had the misfortune to give in to temptation and weakness.
Prayer gives us light by which to see and to judge from God's perspective and from eternity.
That is why you must not give up on praying!"
~ Pope John Paul II ~
~ Pope John Paul II ~
Saturday, November 6, 2010
HOW POPE PIUS IX CURED A BAD MEMORY
The venerable Pontiff, Pius IX, appointed a holy and prudent religious named Padre Tomaso to be bishop of a diocese. The priest, alarmed at the responsibility put upon him, begged earnestly to be excused.
His protests were in vain. The Holy Father knew his merits.
Overcome with apprehension, the humble religious solicited an audience with the Pope, who received him most graciously. Once more he pleaded earnestly to be excused, but the Pope was immovable.
As a last recourse, Padre Tomaso told the Holy Father that he had a very bad memory, which would naturally prove to be a grave impediment in the high office put upon him.
Pius IX answered with a smile: "Your diocese is very small in comparison with the Universal Church, which I carry on my shoulders. Your cares will be very light in comparison with mine.
"I, too, suffered from a grave defect of memory, but I promised to say a fervent prayer daily for the Holy Souls, who, in return, have obtained for me an excellent memory. Do you likewise, Dear Father, and you will have cause to rejoice. "
~ Excerpt from Read Me or Rue It by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P. (E.D.M.) ~
Friday, November 5, 2010
"The month of November draws its special spiritual tone from the two days with which it opens: the Solemnity of All Saints and the Commemoration of all the faithful departed. The mystery of the communion of saints illumines this month and the whole of the last part of the liturgical year in particular, directing our meditation to the earthly destiny of man in the light of Christ's Pasch. In it is founded that hope which, as St Paul said, is such that it "will not leave us disappointed" (cf. Rom 5: 5)."
"The great family of the Church finds in these days a time of grace and lives them, in accordance with her vocation, gathered closely around the Lord in prayer and offering his redeeming Sacrifice for the repose of the deceased faithful."
~ Pope Benedict XVI: Excerpts from Homily at Mass for Deceased Cardinals and Bishops, 2005 ~
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
"Does All Souls' Day and its octave bring great joy to Purgatory and many releases?"
"On All Souls' Day many souls leave the place of expiation and go to Heaven. Also, by a special grace of God on that day only, all the suffering souls, without exception, have a share in the public prayers of the Church, even those who are in the great Purgatory. Still the relief of each soul is in proportion to its merits. Some receive more, some less, but all feel the benefit of this extraordinary grace. Many of the suffering souls receive this one help only in all the long years they pass here and this by the justice of God. It is not, however, on All Souls' Day that the most go to Heaven. It is on Christmas night."
~ Sr. M. de L.C. asks a question of Sr. M.G., a soul from Purgatory:
Excerpt from An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory ~
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
"The belief that love can reach into the afterlife, that reciprocal giving and receiving is possible, in which our affection for one another continues beyond the limits of death—this has been a fundamental conviction of Christianity throughout the ages and it remains a source of comfort today. Who would not feel the need to convey to their departed loved ones a sign of kindness, a gesture of gratitude or even a request for pardon? Now a further question arises: if “Purgatory” is simply purification through fire in the encounter with the Lord, Judge and Saviour, how can a third person intervene, even if he or she is particularly close to the other? When we ask such a question, we should recall that no man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine: in what I think, say, do and achieve. And conversely, my life spills over into that of others: for better and for worse. So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death. In the interconnectedness of Being, my gratitude to the other—my prayer for him—can play a small part in his purification. And for that there is no need to convert earthly time into God's time: in the communion of souls simple terrestrial time is superseded. It is never too late to touch the heart of another, nor is it ever in vain. In this way we further clarify an important element of the Christian concept of hope. Our hope is always essentially also hope for others; only thus is it truly hope for me too. As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: how can I save myself? We should also ask: what can I do in order that others may be saved and that for them too the star of hope may rise? Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well."
~ Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi ~
Monday, November 1, 2010
"All of us must be saints in this world.
Holiness is a duty for you and me.
So let's be saints and so give glory to the Father."
~ Blessed Teresa of Calcutta ~