Why St.Padre Pio Always Remembered the Souls in Purgatory
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.”
The Suffering of the Sick Man and Purgatory
Saint Anthony tells the story of a sick person who suffered so atrociously that he considered it beyond human nature and thus continually prayed for death. One day, an angel appeared to him and said, “God sent me here to offer you a choice. You can spend one year of suffering on earth, or one day in Purgatory.” Choosing the latter, he died and went to Purgatory.
When the angel went to console him, he was greeted with this groan of pain, “Deceitful angel! At least twenty years ago, you said that I would spend only one day in Purgatory . . . My God, how I suffer!”
To this the Angel responded, “Poor deluded soul, your body is not even buried yet.”
A Holy Religious Even Suffers Greatly
In 1870, Belgium fought as an ally with France against Germany. In September of that year, Sister Maria Serafina, a Redemptorist nun in Malines, Belgium, was suddenly seized with inexplicable sadness. Soon after, she received the news that her father had died in that war. From that day on, Sister Maria repeatedly heard distressing groans and a voice saying, “My dear daughter, have mercy on me!” Subsequently, she was besieged with torments, which included unbearable headaches. While laying down one day, she saw her father surrounded with flames and immersed in profound sadness. He was suffering in Purgatory and had received permission from God to beseech prayers from his daughter and relate Purgatory’s suffering to her. Thus he said: I want you to have Masses, prayers and indulgences said on my behalf. Look how I am immersed in this fire-filled hole! Oh! If people knew what Purgatory is, they would suffer anything to avoid it and alleviate the suffering of souls here. Be very holy, my daughter, and observe the Holy Rule, even in its most insignificant points. Purgatory for religious is a terrible thing! Sister Maria saw a pit full of flames, spewing black clouds of smoke. Her father was immersed in the pit where he was burning, horribly suffocated and thirsty. Opening his mouth she saw that his tongue was entirely shriveled. “I am thirsty, my daughter, I am thirsty.” The next day, her father visited her again saying, “My daughter, it has been a long time since I saw you last.” “My father, it was just yesterday . . .” “Oh! It seems like an eternity to me. If I stay in Purgatory three months, it will be an eternity. I was condemned for many years, but, due to Our Lady’s intercession, my sentence was reduced to only a few months.” The grace of coming to earth was granted to him through his good works during his life and because he had been devoted to Our Lady receiving communion on all her feast days. During these visions, Sister Maria Serafina asked her father several questions: “Do souls in Purgatory know who is praying for them, and can they pray for us?” “Yes, my daughter.” “Do these souls suffer, knowing that God is offended in their families and in the world?” “Yes.” Directed by her confessor and her superior, she continued to question her father: “Is it true that the sufferings of Purgatory are much greater than all the torments of earth and even of the martyrs?” “Yes, my daughter, all this is very true.” Sister Serafina then asked if everyone who belongs to the Scapular Confraternity of Carmel (those who wear the scapular), is freed from Purgatory on the first Saturday after death: “Yes,” he answered, “but only if they are faithful to the Confraternity’s obligations.” “Is it true that some souls must stay in Purgatory for as long as five hundred years?” “Yes. Some are condemned until the end of the world. These souls are very guilty and entirely abandoned.” “Three main things draw God’s malediction over men: failure to observe the Lord’s Day through work, the very widespread vice of impurity, and blasphemy. Oh my daughter, how these blasphemies provoke the wrath of God!” For over three months, Sister Serafina and her community prayed and offered penance for the soul of her tormented father who often appeared to her. During the elevation of the Host at Christmas Mass, Sister Maria saw her father shining like a sun with matchless beauty. “I finished my sentence, and have come to thank you and your sisters for your prayers and pious exercises. I will pray for you in Heaven.” If Purgatory did not exist to remove the stain of sin from imperfect souls, the only alternative would be Hell. Therefore, Purgatory is a necessary place of expiation. All personal sin carries two consequences: blame (which, in the case of mortal sin, destroys sanctifying grace and leads to Hell) and temporal punishment warranted by the offense to God. Although Confession frees us from blame and part of the punishment, we must still make additional reparation to God. In this life, this can be done through prayer, Mass intentions, alms, penance and acquiring indulgences. One who dies in a state of venial sin or without sufficient reparation goes to Purgatory.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO ARE NEGLECTFUL OF THE HOLY SOULS?
ST. ANTONINUS AND HIS FRIEND
St. Antoninus, the illustrious Archbishop of Florence, relates that a pious gentleman had died, who was a great friend of the Dominican Convent in which the Saint resided. Many Masses and suffrages were offered for his soul. The Saint was very much afflicted when, after the lapse of a long time, the soul of the poor gentleman appeared to him, suffering excruciating pains.
“Oh, my Dear Friend, ” exclaimed the Archbishop, “are you still in Purgatory, you who led such a pious and devout life?”
“Yes, and I shall remain there still for a long time, ” replied the poor sufferer, “for when on Earth I neglected to offer suffrages for the souls in Purgatory. Now, God by a just judgment has applied the suffrages which have been offered for me to those souls for whom I should have prayed. ”
“But God, too, in His Justice, will give me all the merits of my good works when I enter Heaven; but first of all, I have to expiate my grave neglect in regard to others. ”
So true are the words of Our Lord: “By that measure with which you measure, it will be measured to you again. ”
A Prayer for the Souls in Purgatory
O gentle Heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever consumed with burning love for the poor captive souls in Purgatory, have mercy on them. Be not severe in Your judgments, but let some drops of Your Precious Blood fall upon the devouring flames. And, Merciful Savior, send Your angels to conduct them to a place of refreshment, light and peace. Amen.
OFFERING OF DAILY ACTIONS FOR THE HOLY SOULS
We Should Do This at Least Once a Week for The Holy Souls
ETERNAL Father, by virtue of Thine generosity and love, I ask that
Thou accept all my actions, and that Thou dost multiply their value in favor of every soul in Purgatory. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
FOR THOSE WHO REALLY WANT TO GO ALL THE WAY FOR THE HOLY SOULS
THE HEROIC ACT IN FAVOR OF THE SOULS IN PURGATORY
O MY GOD! for Your greater glory, and to imitate as closely as possible the generous Heart of Jesus, my Redeemer, and also to testify my devotion to the Blessed Virgin, my Mother, who is also the Mother of the Souls in Purgatory, I place in her hands all my satisfactory works, as well as the fruit of all those which may be offered for my intention after my death, that she may apply them to the Souls in Purgatory according to her wisdom and good pleasure. Amen.
This Heroic Act of Charity is the completely unselfish offering to God of all the satisfactory value of one’s prayers and good works — plus the value of any that might be offered for one after one’s death — for the benefit of the Souls in Purgatory, rather than for oneself. The “satisfactory value” of a good work is its value with regard to making up for our sins and reducing our stay in Purgatory. However, the “meritorious value” of our good works is inalienable, i.e., our merits, which give us a right to an increase of glory in Heaven, cannot be applied to anyone else. Moreover, a person who has made the Heroic Act may still pray for himself, friends and other intentions.
The Heroic Act is revocable at will and is not a vow. Its actual ratification depends on the will of God. By making this act with purity of intention, one is relying upon the mercy of God and the prayers of the Communion of Saints to assist his soul after death. The Heroic Act was approved and encouraged by Pope Benedict XIII [1724-1730].
According to the Raccolta of 1932: The faithful who make the Heroic Act in favor of the Souls detained in Purgatory, may gain an indulgence.” At the time this was a plenary indulgence with special conditions attached , such as attending Mass, receiving Holy Communion in supplication for the Holy Souls, etc.
His Holiness, Leo XIII, Jan. 17, 1888, granted to the faithful who shall perform some pious practice for the relief of the Souls in Purgatory, every day during the whole month of November, whether in public or in private, an indulgence of seven years and as many quarantines on each day of the month; a plenary indulgence, once during the same month, on any day of the month, on the usual conditions: confession and communion, and a visit to a church or public oratory, and there praying for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.