Divine Love and Purgatory

 

Prayer for the Poor Souls in Purgatory
by St. Gertrude the Great

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most precious blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus Christ, in union with the holy Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Poor Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, for those in my own home and in my family. Amen.

For November, we offer a few excerpts from a true saint for our times, Sister Josefa Menendez, the author of  “The Way of Divine Love”, a treasure of a book that I love dearly. These few quotes give a quite an insight into purgatory. There is much to think on in them.

In Lent 1922, God put Sister Josefa  in touch with an abyss of woe, Purgatory. Many souls came to solicit her suffrages and sacrifices in terms of very great humility. At first she was frightened, but by degrees she became accustomed to their confidences. She listened to them, asked them their names, encouraged them, and very humbly recommended herself to their intercession. The lessons they inculcated are worth remembering. One of them came to announce her deliverance and said: “The important thing is not entrance into religion, but entrance into the next world.” “If religious souls but realized the heavy price to be paid for concessions to the body …” said another, while asking for prayers.

“My exile is at an end and I am going to my eternal home….” A priest-soul said to her: “How great is the mercy of God, when He deigns to make use of the sufferings of other souls to repair our infidelities; what a degree of glory I might have acquired had my life been different.” A nun who, on her entrance into Heaven, confided to Josefa: “How different the things of earth appear when one passes into eternity. What are charges and offices in the sight of God? All He counts is the purity of our intention when exercising them, even in the smallest acts. How little is the earth and all it contains, and yet, how loved…. Ah, what comparison is there between life, however prolonged, and eternity! If only it were realized how in Purgatory the soul is wearied and consumed with desire to see God.”

There were also some poor souls, who having escaped through God’s mercy from a still greater peril, came to beg Josefa to hasten their deliverance. “I am here by God’s great mercy,” one of them said, “for my excessive pride had brought me to the gates of Hell. I influenced a great number of other people, and now I would gladly throw myself at the feet of the most abject pauper. “Have compassion on me and do acts of humility to make reparation for my pride, thus you will be able to deliver me from this abyss.”

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November, the Month of Poor Souls

 

In November, we focus on the Poor Souls and on our own mortality as well. The chill wind blowing the flaming leaves about recalls to us thoughts of purgatory and its cleansing fires, bringing to mind loved ones gone before us and our own mortality.

Although these days, the very concept of Purgatory is an affront to the sensibilities of modern Catholics,  it can be a comforting concept to those familiar with the true teachings of the faith. Like the dogma of the sacrificial nature of the Mass, Purgatory is a reminder of the loving justice of God.

If we were to make full use of all the opportunities presented to us every day for offering up our trials and sacrifices for the remission of our sins and for the sins of others, we could conceivably assist many poor souls to heaven as well as shorten our own stay in purgatory’s cleansing fires. The fact that we do not do this, that is, do not make full use of these opportunities for sacrifice, is perhaps due to our not wearing our scapular mindfully, or not maintaining our Consecration to Our Lady as we should. November is a great time to correct this.

NOTE: The following is added 4:00 pm: According to a pamphlet issued many years ago by the Confraternity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “The faithful who devoutly offer prayers for the Poor Souls with the intention of doing so for nine (9) successive days may obtain an indulgence of three (3) years each day, or five (5) years each day if in November, and a plenary indulgence at the completion of the nine days of prayer for the Poor Souls. An excellent prayer for them is Psalm 129, the De Propfundis:

Out of the depths have I cried to thee, O Lord:
Lord, hear my voice. Let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
If Thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities: Lord, who shall abide it?
For with Thee is merciful forgiveness: and by reason of thy law, I have waited for thee, O Lord.
My soul hath relied on His word:
My soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
Because with the Lord there is mercy: and with Him is plentiful redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

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