Poor Souls in Purgatory

The Severity of the Pains Of Purgatory Far Surpass The Worst Pains On Earth

That which shows still more the rigour of Purgatory is that the shortest period of time there appears to be of very long duration. Every one knows that days of enjoyment pass quickly and appear short, whilst the time passed in suffering we find very long. Oh, how slowly pass the hours ofthe night for the poor sick, who spend them in sleeplessness and pain. We may say that the more intense the pain thelonger appears the shortest duration of time. This rule furnishes us with a new means of estimating the sufferings of Purgatory.

We find in the Annals of the Friar Minors, under the year 1285, a fact which is also related by St. Antoninus in his Summa.A religious man, suffering for a long timefrom a painful malady, allowed himself to be overcome by discouragement, and entreated God to permit him to die, that he might be released from his pains. He did not think that the prolongation of his sickness was a mercy of God, who wished to spare him more severe suffering. In answer to his prayer, God charged His angel-guardian to offer him his choice, either to die immediately and submit to the pains of Purgatory for three days, or to bear his sickness for another year and then go directly to Heaven. The sick man, having to choose between three days in Purgatoryand one year of suffering upon earth, did not hesitate, but took the three days in Purgatory. After the lapse of an hour, his angel went to visit him in his sufferings. On seeing him, the poor patient complained that he had been left so long in those torments. ” And yet,” he added, ” you promised that I should remain here but three days.” ” How long,” asked the angel, ” do you think you have already suffered ? ” ” At least for several years,” he replied, ” and I had to suffer but three days.” “Know,” said the angel, “that you have been here only one hour. The intensity of the pain deceives you as to the time; it makes an instant appear a “day,and an hour years.” ” Alas! then,” said he with a sigh, ” I have been very blind and inconsiderate in the choice I have made. Pray God, my good angel, to pardon me, and permit me to return to earth. I am ready to submit to the most cruel maladies, not only for two years, but as long as it shall please Him. Rather six years of horrible suffering than one single hour in this abyss of unutterable agonies.

The following is taken from a pious author quoted by Father Rossignoli.Two Religious, of eminent virtue,vied with each other in leading a holy life. One of them fell sick, and learned in a vision that he should soon die,that he should be saved, and that he should remain in purgatory only until the first Mass should be celebrated for the repose of his soul. Full of joy at these tidings, he hastened to impart them to his friend, and entreated him not to delay the celebration of the Mass which was to open heaven to him.He died the following morning, and his holy companion lost no time in celebrating the Holy Sacrifice. After Mass,whilst he was making his thanksgiving, and still continuing to pray for his departed friend, the latter appeared to him radiant with glory, but in a tone sweetly plaintive he asked why that one Mass of which he stood in need had been so long delayed. ” My blessed brother,” replied the Religious,” I delayed so long, you say ? I do not understand you.”What! did you not leave me to suffer for more than a year before offering Mass for the repose of my soul ?”” Indeed, my dear brother, I commenced Mass immediately after your death; not a quarter of an hour had elapsed.”Then, regarding him with emotion, the blessed soul cried out, ” How terrible are those expiatory pains, since they have caused me to mistake minutes for a year. Serve God, my dear brother, with an exact fidelity, in order that you may avoid those chastisements. Farewell! I fly to heaven,where you will soon join me.”

This severity of Divine Justice in regard to the most fervent souls is explained by the infinite Sanctity of God,who discovers stains in that which appears to us most pure.The Annals of the Order of St. Francis speak of a Religious whose eminent sanctity had caused him to be surnamed Angelicus. He died in odour of sanctity at the monastery of the Friars Minors in Paris, and one of his brethren in religion, a doctor in theology, persuaded that, after a life so perfect, he had gone directly to Heaven, and that he stood in no need of prayers, omitted to celebrate for him the three Masses of obligation which, according to the custom of the Institute, were offered for each departed member.

After a few days, whilst he was walking and meditating in a retired spot, the deceased appeared before him enveloped in flames, and said to him, in a mournful voice,” Dear master, I beg of you have pity “upon me !” ” What!Brother Angelicus, do you need my assistance ? “I am detained in the fires of Purgatory, awaiting the fruit of the Holy Sacrifice which you should have offered three times for me.” “Beloved brother, I thought you were already in possession of eternal glory. After a life so fervent and exemplary as yours had been, I could not imagine that there remained any pain to be suffered.” “Alas ! alas !” replied the departed, ” no one can believe with what severity God judges and punishes His creatures. His infinite Sanctity discovers in our best actions defective spots, imperfections which displease Him. He requires us to give an account even to the last farthing.

~Source:”Purgatory Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints” by Rev.F.X.Schouppe

Poor Souls in Purgatory, Preparation For Death

St.Mary Magdalene de Pazzi Sees A Vision of Her Departed Brother In Purgatory

St. Magdalen de Pazzi, in her celebrated vision, where the different prisons of Purgatory were shown to her, saw the soul of her brother, who had died after having led a most fervent Christian life. Nevertheless, this soul was detained in suffering for certain faults, which it had not sufficiently expiated upon earth. These, says the saint, are the most intolerable sufferings, and yet they are endured with joy. Ah ! why are they not understood by those who lack the courage to bear their cross here below? Struck with this frightful spectacle which she had just contemplated, she ran to her Prioress, and casting herself upon her knees, she cried out, ” O my dear Mother, how terrible are the Pains of Purgatory ! Never could I have believed it, had not God manifested it to me. . . . And, nevertheless, I cannot call them cruel; rather are they advantageous,since they lead to the ineffable bliss of Paradise.To impress this more and more upon our minds, it has pleased God to give certain holy persons a small share in the pains of expiation, like a drop of the bitter cup which the poor souls have to drink, a spark of the fire which consumes them.”

The historian Bzovius, in his History of Poland, under the date 1598, relates a miraculous event which happened to the Venerable Stanislaus Chocosca, one of the luminaries of the Order of St. Dominic in Poland.One day, whilst this Religious, full of charity for the departed, recited the rosary, he saw appear near him a soul all enveloped in flames. As she besought him to have pity on her, and to alleviate the intolerable sufferings which the fire of Divine Justice caused her to endure, the holy man asked her if this fire was more painful than that of earth? ” Ah ! ” she cried, ” all the fires of earth compared to that of Purgatory are like a refreshing breeze.“ I wish,” he said, ” to have a proof.If God will permit, for your relief, and for the good of my soul, I consent to suffer a part of your pains.” ” Alas !you could not do this. Know that no human being could endure such torment and live. However, God will permit you to feel it in a light degree. Stretch forth your hand.”Chocosca extended his hand, and the departed let fall a drop of sweat, or at least of a liquid which resembled it.At the same instant the Religious uttered a piercing cry and fell fainting to the ground, so frightfully intense was the pain.His brethren ran to the spot and hastened to give him the assistance which his condition required. When restored to consciousness, he related the terrible event which had occurred, and of which they had a visible proof. ” Ah ! my dear Fathers,” he continued, ” if we knew the severity of the Divine chastisements, we should never commit sin,nor should we cease to do penance in this life, in order to avoid expiation in the next.”

Stanislaus was confined to his bed from that moment.He lived one year longer in “the most cruel suffering caused by his terrible wound; then, for the last time, exhorting his brethren to remember the rigours of Divine Justice, he peacefully slept in the Lord. The historian adds that this example reanimated fervour in all the monasteries of that province.

We read of a similar fact in the Life of Blessed Catherine de Racconigi:One day, when suffering so intensely as to need the assistance of her sisters in religion, she thought of the souls in Purgatory, and, to temper the heat of their flames, she offered to God the burning heat of her fever. At that moment, being rapt in ecstasy, she was conducted in spirit into the place of expiation, where she saw the flames and braziers in which the souls are purified in great torture.Whilst contemplating full of compassion, this piteous spectacle, she heard a voice which said to her, “Catherine, in order that you may procure most efficaciously the deliverance of these souls, you shall participate, in some manner,in their torments.” At that same moment a spark detached itself from the fire and settled upon her left cheek. The sisters present saw the spark distinctly, and saw also with horror that the face of the sick person was frightfully swollen. She lived several days in this state, and, as Blessed Catherine told her sisters, the suffering caused by that simple spark far surpassed all that she had previously endured in the most painful maladies. Until that time Catherine had always devoted herself with charity to the relief of the souls in Purgatory, but from thenceforward she redoubled her fervor and austerities to hasten their deliverance, because she knew by experience the great need in which they stood of her assistance.

~”Purgatory” by Rev.F.X.Schouppe

Poor Souls in Purgatory

Apparition of a Soul In Purgatory In Foligno Italy

The event took place on November 16,1859, at Foligno, near Assisi, in Italy. It made a great noise in the country, and besides the visible mark which was seen, an inquiry made in due form by competent authority establishes it as an incontestable fact.

There was at the convent of Franciscan Tertiaries in Foligno, a sister named Teresa Gesta, who had been for many years mistress of novices, and who at the same time had charge of the sacristy of the community. She was born at Bastia, in Corsica, in 1797, and entered the monastery in the year 1826.

Sister Teresa was a model of fervour and charity. We need not be astonished, said her director, if God glorifies her by some prodigy after her death.She died suddenly, November 4, 1859, of a stroke of apoplexy.

Twelve days later, on November 16, a sister named Anna Felicia, who succeeded her in office, went to the sacristy and was about to enter, when she heard moans which appeared to come from the interior of the room.Somewhat afraid, she hastened to open the door; there was no one. Again she heard moans, and so distinctly that,not withstanding her ordinary courage, she felt herself over-powered by fear. ” Jesus ! Mary !” she cried, ” what can that be ? ” She had not finished speaking when she heard a plaintive voice, accompanied with a painful sigh, ” Oh !my God, how I suffer ! Oh I Dio, che peno tanto I” The sister, stupefied, immediately recognised the voice of poor sister Teresa. Then the room was filled with a thick smoke, and the spirit of Sister Teresa appeared, moving towards the door, and gliding along by the wall. Having reached the door, she cried aloud, ” Behold a proof of the mercy of God” Saying these words, she struck the upper panel of the door, and there left the print of her right hand,burnt in the wood as with a red hot iron. She then disappeared.

Sister Anna Felicia was left half dead with fright. She burst forth into loud cries for help. One of her companions ran, then a second, and finally the whole community. They pressed around her, astonished to find a strong odour of burnt wood. Sister Anna Felicia told what had occurred, and showed them the terrible impressionon the door. They instantly recognised the hand of Sister Teresa, which had been remarkably small. Terrified, they took to flight and ran to the choir, where they passed the night in prayer and penance for the departed, and the following morning all received Holy Communion for the repose of her soul.The news spread outside the convent walls, and many communities in the city united their prayers with those of the Franciscans.

On the third day, November18, Sister Anna Felicia, on going in the evening to her cell, heard herself called by her name, and recognised perfectly the voice of Sister Teresa. At the same instant a globe of brilliant light appeared before her, illuminating her cell with the brightness of daylight. She then heard Sister Teresa pronounce these words in a joyful and triumphant voice: “I died on a Friday, the day of the Passion, and behold, on a Friday, I enter into eternal glory Be strong to bear the cross, be courageous to suffer, love poverty.”Then adding, affectionately, “Adieu, adieu, adieu!” she became transfigured, and like a light, white, and dazzling cloud, rose towards Heaven and disappeared.

During the investigation which was held immediately,November 23, in the presence of a large number of witnesses,the tomb of Sister Teresa was opened, and the impression upon the door was found to correspond exactly with the hand of the deceased. “The door, with the burnt print of the hand,” adds Mgr. Segur, ” is preserved with great veneration in the convent. The Mother Abbess, witness of the fact, was pleased to show it to me herself.”

Wishing to assure myself of the perfect exactitude of these details related by Mgr. Segur, I wrote to the Bishop-of Foligno. He replied by giving me a circumstantial account perfectly according with the above, and accom-panied by a facsimile of the miraculous mark. This nar-rative explains the cause of the terrible expiation to which Sister Teresa was subjected. After saying, ” Ah ! how much I suffer ! Oh ! Dio, che peno tanto ! ” she added that it was for having, in the exercise of her office of Sacristan, trans-gressed in some points the strict poverty prescribed by the Rule.

Thus we see Divine Justice punishes most severely the slightest faults. It may here be asked why the apparition,when making the mysterious mark on trie door, called it a proof of the mercy of God. It is because, in giving us a warning of this kind, God shows us a great mercy. He urges us, in the most efficacious manner, to assist the poor suffering souls, and to be vigilant in our own regard.

Whilst speaking of this subject, we may relate a similar

instance which happened in Spain, and which caused great rumours in that country Ferdinand of Castile thus relates it in his ” History of Saint Dominic.”

A Dominican Religious led a holy life in his convent at Zamora, acity of the kingdom of Leon. He was united in the bonds of a pious friendship with a Franciscan brother like himself,a man of great virtue. One day, when conversing together on the subject of eternity, they mutually promised that, if it pleased God, the first who died should appear to the other to give him some salutary advice. The Friar Minor died first; and one day, whilst his friend, the son of St.Dominic, was preparing the refectory, he appeared to him.After saluting him with respect and affection, he told him that he was among the elect, but that before he could be admitted to the enjoyment of eternal happiness, there remained much to be suffered for an infinity of small faults of which he had not sufficiently repented during his life.”Nothing on earth,” he added, “can give an idea of the torments which I endure, and of which God permits me to give you a visible proof.” Saying these words, he placed his right hand upon the table of the refectory, and the mark remained impressed upon the charred wood as though it had been applied with a red hot iron.

Such was the lesson which the fervent deceased Fran-ciscan gave to his living friend. It was of profit not onlyto him, but to all those who came to see the burnt mark,so profoundly significant; for this table became an object of piety which people came from all parts to look upon it.

~Source:”Purgatory” by Rev.F.X.Schouppe

Poor Souls in Purgatory

The Sufferings of the Holy Souls In Purgatory

To the two preceding facts we shall add a third, taken from the Annals of the Company of Jesus. We speak of aprodigy which was wrought in the person of Antony Pereyra,Brother Coadjutor of that Company, who died in the odour of sanctity at the College of Evora, in Portugal, August 1,1645.

Forty-six years previous, in 1599, five years after his entrance into the noviciate, this brother was attacked by a mortal malady in the island of St. Michael, one of the Azores. A few moments after he had received the last sacraments, in presence of the whole community, who assisted him in his agony, he appeared to breathe forth his soul, and soon became as cold as a corpse. The appearance, though almost imperceptible, of a slight beating ofthe heart, alone prevented them from interring him immediately. He was therefore left for three entire days upon his bed, and his body already gave evident signs of decomposition, when suddenly, on the fourth day, he opened his eyes, breathed, and spoke.

He was then obliged by obedience to relate to his superior, Father Louis Pinheyro, all that had passed within him since the last terrible moments of his agony. We here give an abridged account of it, as written by his own hand. ” I saw first,” he says, ” from my deathbed my Father,St. Ignatius, accompanied by several of our Fathers from Heaven, who came to visit his sick children, seeking those whom he thought worthy to be offered by him and his companions to our Lord. When he drew near to me I believed for a moment that he would take me, and my heart thrilled with joy ; but soon he pointed out to me that of which I must correct myself before obtaining so great a happiness.”

Then, nevertheless, by a mysterious disposition of Divine Providence, the soul of Brother Pereyra separated itself momentarily from his body, and immediately a hideous troupe of demons rushing towards him filled him with terror.At the same moment his guardian-angel and St. Antony of Padua, his countryman and patron, descended from Heaven,put to flight his enemies, and invited him to accompanythem to take a glimpse of, and taste for a moment, the joys and sufferings of eternity. They led me then by turns,” he adds, “towards a place of delights, where they showed me a crown of incomparable glory, but which I had not as yet merited; then to the brink of an abyss, where I saw the reprobate souls fall into the eternal fire, crushed like the grains of wheat cast upon a millstone that turns without intermission. The infernal gulf was like one of those lime kilns, where, at times, the flames are, as it were,stifled by the mass of materials thrown into them, but which feeds the fire that it may burst forth with more terrible violence.” Led from thence to the tribunal of the Sovereign Judge, Antony Pereyra heard himself condemned to the fire of Purgatory; and nothing, he assures us, can give an idea of what is suffered there, nor of the state of agony to which the souls are reduced by the desire and the delay of the enjoyment of God and of His sacred presence.

When, by the command of God, his soul had been re-united with his body, the renewed tortures of his malady for six entire months, with the additional torture of fire and iron,caused the flesh (already incurably tainted with the corruption of his first death) to fall in pieces ; yet not this, nor the frightful penances to which he unceasingly delivered himself, so far as obedience permitted, during the forty-six years of his new life, could appease his thirst for suffering and expiation. “All this,” he said, “is nothing in comparison with what the justice and infinite mercy of God has caused me not only to witness, but also to endure.”

In fine, as an authentic seal upon so many marvels,Brother Pereyra discovered to his superior in detail the secret designs of Providence regarding the future restoration of the kingdom of Portugal, more than half a century before it happened. But we may add without fear, that the highest guarantee of all these prodigies was the astonishing degree of sanctity to which Brother Pereyra ceased not to elevate himself from day to day.

Let us relate a similar instance which confirms in every point that which we have just read. We find it in the Life of the venerable servant of God, Angela Tholomei, a Dominican nun.She was raised from the dead by her own brother, and gave a testimony of the rigour of God’s judgements exactly conformable to the precedent.

Blessed John Baptist Tholomei,whose rare virtues andthe gift of miracles has placed him on our altars, had a sister, Angela Tholomei, the heroism of whose virtue has also been recognised by the Church. She fell dangerously sick, and her holy brother by earnest prayer besought her cure. Our Lord replied, as He did formerly to the sister of Lazarus, that He would not cure Angela, but that He would do more; He would raise her from the dead, for the glory of God and the good of souls. She died, recommending herself to the prayers of her holy brother.

Whilst she was being carried to the tomb. Blessed John the Baptist, in obedience, no doubt, to an inspiration of the Holy Spirit, approached the coffin, and, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, commanded his sister to come forth.Immediately she awoke as from a profound slumber, and returned to life.

That holy soul seemed struck with terror, and related such things concerning the severity of God’s judgments as make us shudder. She commenced, at the same time, to lead a life which proved the truth of her words. Her penance was frightful. Not content with the ordinary practices of the saints, such as fasting, watching, hair-shirts,and bloody disciplines, she went so far as to cast herself into flames, and to roll herself therein until her flesh was entirely burnt. Her macerated body became an object of pity and of horror. She was censured and accused of destroying, by her excess, the idea of true Christian penance.She continued, nevertheless, and contented herself with replying, ” If you knew the rigours of the judgment of God, you would not speak thus. What are my trifling “penances compared with the torments reserved in the other life for those infidelities which we so easily permit ourselves in this world ? What are they ? What are they ? Would that I could do a hundred times more !

There is no question here, as we see, of the tortures to which great sinners converted before death are subjected,but of the chastisements which God inflicts upon a fervent Religious for the slightest faults.”

~Source:”Purgatory” by Fr F.X.

Schouppe

Poor Souls in Purgatory

Christine the Admirable,Victim Soul for the Holy Souls In Purgatory

St. Christine the Admirable lived in Belgium at the close of the twelfth century, and her body is preserved today in St. Trond, in the church of the Redemptorist Fathers. The Life of this illustrious virgin was, written by Thomas de Cantimpre, a Religious of the Order of St. Dominic, an author worthy of credit and contemporary with the saint. Cardinal James deVitry, in the preface to the Life of Maria d’Ognies, speaks of a great number of holy women and illustrious virgins ;but the one whom he admires above all others is St.Christine.

This servant of God, having passed the first years of her life in humility and patience, died at the age of thirty-two.When she was about to be buried, and the body was already in the church resting in an open coffin, according to the custom of the time, she arose full of vigour, stupefying with amazement the whole city of St. Trond, which had witnessed this wonder. The astonishment increased when they learned from her own mouth what had happened to her after her death. Let us hear her own account of it.

“As soon,” said she, “as my soul was separated from my body, it was received by angels, who conducted it to a very gloomy place, entirely filled with souls. The torments which they there endured appeared to me so excessive,that it is impossible for me to give any idea of their rigour.I saw among them many of my acquaintances, and, deeply touched by their sad condition, I asked what place it was,for I believed it to be Hell. My guide answered me that it was Purgatory, where sinners were punished who, before death, had repented of their faults, but had not made worthy satisfaction to God. From thence I was conducted into Hell, and there also I recognised among the reprobates some whom I had formerly known.

The angels then transported me into Heaven, even to the throne of the Divine Majesty. The Lord regarded me with a favourable eye, and I experienced an extreme joy,because I thought to obtain the grace of dwelling eternally with Him. But my Heavenly Father, seeing what passed in my heart, said to me these words : “Assuredly, my dear daughter, you will one day be with Me. Now, however, I allow you to choose, either to remain with Me henceforth from this time, or to return again to earth to accomplish a mission of charity and suffering. In order to deliver from the flames of Purgatory those souls which have inspired you with so much compassion, you shall suffer for them upon earth; you shall endure great torments, without, however dying from their effects. And not only will you relieve the departed, but the example which you will give to the living,and your life of continual suffering, will lead sinners to be converted and to expiate their crimes. After having ended this new life, you shall return here laden with merits.”

” At these words, seeing the great advantages offeredme for souls, I replied, without hesitation, that I would return to life, and I arose at that same instant. It is for this sole object, the relief of the departed and the conversion of sinners, that I have returned to this world. Therefore be not astonished at the penances that I shall practise,nor at the life that you will see me lead from henceforward.It will be so extraordinary that nothing like to it has ever been seen “

All this was related by the saint herself; let us now see what the biographer adds in the different chapters of her life. ” Christine immediately commenced the work for which she had been sent by God. Renouncing all the comforts of life, and reduced to extreme destitution, she lived without house or fire, more miserable than the birds-of the air, which have a nest to shelter them. Not content with these privations, she eagerly sought all that could cause her suffering. She threw herself into burning furnaces, and there suffering so great torture that she could no longer bear it, she uttered the most frightful cries. She remained for a long time in the fire, and yet, on coming forth, no sign of burning was found upon her body. In winter, when the Meuse was frozen, she plunged herself into it, staying in that cold river not only hours and days, but for entire weeks, all the while praying to God and imploring His mercy. Sometimes, whilst praying in the icy waters, sheallowed herself to be carried by the current down to a mill,the wheel of which whirled her round in a manner frightful today behold, yet without breaking or dislocating one of herbones. On other occasions, followed by dogs, which bit and tore her flesh, she ran, enticing them into the thickets and among the thorns, until she was covered with blood ;nevertheless, on her return, no wound or scar was to be seen.”

Such are the works of admirable penance described bythe author of the Life of St. Christine. This writer was a Bishop, a suffragan of the Archbishop of Cambray; ” and we have,” says Beilarmine, ” reason for believing his testimony, since he has for guarantee another grave author,James de Vitry, Bishop and Cardinal, and because he relates what happened in his own time, and even in the province where he lived. Besides, the sufferings of this admirable virgin were not hidden. Every one could see that she was in the midst of the flames without being consumed, and covered with wounds, every trace of which disappeared a few moments afterwards. But more than this was the marvellous life she led for forty-two years after she was raised from the dead, God clearly showing that the wonders wrought in her were by virtue from on high. The striking conversions which she effected, and the evident miracles which occurred after her death, manifestly proved the finger of God, and the truth of that which, after her resurrection, she had revealed concerning the other life.

Thus, argues Bellarmine, “God willed to silence those libertines who make open profession of believing in nothing,and who have the audacity to ask in scorn, ‘ Who has returned from the other world? Who has ever seen the torments of Hell or Purgatory ?’ Behold the witnesses.They assure us that they have seen them, and that they are dreadful. What follows, then, if not that the incredulousare inexcusable, and that those who believe and nevertheless neglect to do penance are still more to be condemned ?

~Excerpted from “Purgatory” by Rev.F.X.Schouppe

Indulgences, January Feast Days, Pious Devotions, Poor Souls in Purgatory

New Years Plenary Indulgence

A plenary indulgence may be gained by reciting or singing the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus on the first day of the year. This hymn is traditionally sung for beginnings of things, calling on the Holy Spirit before endeavoring something new.

VENI, Creator Spiritus,

mentes tuorum visita,

imple superna gratia

quae tu creasti pectora.

COME, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,

and in our souls take up Thy rest;

come with Thy grace and heavenly aid

to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

Qui diceris Paraclitus,

altissimi donum Dei,

fons vivus, ignis, caritas,

et spiritalis unctio.

O comforter, to Thee we cry,

O heavenly gift of God Most High,

O fount of life and fire of love,

and sweet anointing from above.

Tu, septiformis munere,

digitus paternae dexterae,

Tu rite promissum Patris,

sermone ditans guttura.

Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;

Thou, finger of God’s hand we own;

Thou, promise of the Father, Thou

Who dost the tongue with power imbue.

Accende lumen sensibus:

infunde amorem cordibus:

infirma nostri corporis

virtute firmans perpeti.

Kindle our sense from above,

and make our hearts o’erflow with love;

with patience firm and virtue high

the weakness of our flesh supply.

Hostem repellas longius,

pacemque dones protinus:

ductore sic te praevio

vitemus omne noxium.

Far from us drive the foe we dread,

and grant us Thy peace instead;

so shall we not, with Thee for guide,

turn from the path of life aside.

Per te sciamus da Patrem,

noscamus atque Filium;

Teque utriusque Spiritum

credamus omni tempore.

Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow

the Father and the Son to know;

and Thee, through endless times confessed,

of both the eternal Spirit blest.

Deo Patri sit gloria,

et Filio, qui a mortuis

surrexit, ac Paraclito,

in saeculorum saecula.Amen.

Now to the Father and the Son,

Who rose from death, be glory given,

with Thou, O Holy Comforter,

henceforth by all in earth and heaven.

Amen.

There are a few conditions that must be met in order to gain a plenary indulgence:

+ Be in the state of grace

+Make a sacramental confession within 20 days

+Receive Communion

+Pray for the Pope’s intentions

+Have no attachment to sin, even venial sin (this can involve resolving to love God and reject sin).

Poor Souls in Purgatory

The Pains and Consolations of the Souls In Purgatory

There is in Purgatory, as in Hell, a double pain the pain of loss and the pain of sense.

The pain of loss consists in being deprived for a time of the sight of God, who is the Supreme Good, the beatific end for which our souls are made, as our eyes are for the light.

It is a moral thirst which torments the soul. The pain of sense, or sensible suffering, is the same as that which we experience in our flesh. Its nature is not defined by faith, but it is the common opinion of the Doctors that it consists in fire and other species of suffering. The fire of Purgatory, say the Fathers, is that of Hell, of which the rich glutton speaks, Quia cruder in hac flamma, “I suffer”,he says, cruelly in these flames”.

As regards the severity of these pains, since they are inflicted by Infinite Justice, they are proportioned to the nature, gravity, and number of sins committed. Each one receives according to his works, each one must acquit him self of the debts with which he sees himself charged before God. Now these debts differ greatly in quality. Some, which have accumulated during a long life, have reached the ten thousand talents of the Gospel, that is to say,millions and ten of millions ; whilst others are reduced to a few farthings, the trifling remainder of that which has not been expiated on earth. It follows from this that the souls undergo various kinds of sufferings, that there are innumerable degrees of expiation in Purgatory, and that some are incomparably more severe than others. However, speaking in general, the doctors agree in saying that the pains are most excruciating. “The same fire,” says St. Gregory, “torments the damned and purifies the elect. “Almost all theologians”says Bellarmine,”teach that the reprobate and the souls in Purgatory suffer the action of the same fire.”

It must be held as certain, writes the same Bellarmine,that there is no proportion between the sufferings of this life and those of Purgatory. St. Augustine declares precisely the same in his commentary on Psalm xxxi. : “Lord,” he says, “chastise me not in Thy wrath, and reject me not with those to whom Thou hast said, Go into eternal fire ; but chastise me not in Thine anger : purify me rather in such manner in this life that I need not to be purified by fire in the next. Yes, I fear that fire which has been en kindled for those who will be saved, it is true, but yet so as by fire.They will be saved, no doubt, after the trial of fire, but that trial will be terrible, that torment will be more intolerable than all the most excruciating sufferings in this world.”

Behold what St. Augustine says, and what St. Gregory, Venerable Bede, St. Anselm, and St. Bernard have said after him. St. Thomas goes even further ; he maintains that the least pain of Purgatory surpasses all the sufferings of this life, whatsoever they may be. Pain, says B. Peter Lefevre, is deeper and more acute when it directly attacks the soul and the mind than when it reaches them only through the medium of the body. The mortal body, and the senses themselves, absorb and intercept a part of the physical and even moral pain.

fire.

The author of the imitation explains this doctrine by a practical and striking sentence. Speaking in general of the sufferings of the other life : There, he says, one hour of torment will be more terrible than a hundred years of rigorous penance done here.To prove this doctrine, it is affirmed that all the souls in Purgatory suffer the pain of loss. Now this pain surpasses the keenest suffering. But to speak of the pain of sense alone, we know what a terrible thing fire is, how feeble so ever the flame which we enkindle in our houses, and what pain is caused by the slightest burn ; how much more terrible must be that fire which is fed neither with wood nor oil, and which can never be extinguished ! Enkindled by the breath of God to be the instrument of His Justice, it seizes upon souls and torments them with incomparable activity. That which we have already said, and what we have still to say, is well qualified to inspire us with that salutary fear recommended to us by Jesus Christ, But, lest certain readers, forgetful of the Christian confidence which must temper our fears, should give themselves up to excessive fear, let us modify the preceding doctrine by that of another Doctor of the Church, St. Francis of Sales, who presents the sufferings of Purgatory soothed by the consolations which accompany them.

“We may,”says this holy amiable director of souls,”draw from the thought of Purgatory more consolation than apprehension.”The greater part of those who dread Purgatory so much think more of their own interests than of the interests of God’s glory ; this proceeds from the fact that they think only of the sufferings without considering the peace and happiness which are there enjoyed by the holy souls. It is true that the torments are so great that the most acute sufferings of this life bear no comparison to them ; but the interior satisfaction which is there enjoyed is such that no prosperity nor contentment upon earth can equal it.

The souls are in a continual union with God. They Are perfectly resigned to His will, or rather their will is so transformed into that of God that they cannot will but what God wills so that if Paradise were to be opened to them, they would precipitate themselves into Hell rather than appear before God with the stains with which they see themselves disfigured. They purify themselves willingly and lovingly, because such is the Divine good pleasure.

They wish to be there in the state wherein God pleases, and as long as it shall please Him. They cannot sin, nor can they experience the least movement of impatience, nor commit the slightest imperfection. They love God more than they love themselves, and more than all things else ; they love Him with a perfect, pure, and disinterested love.ested love. They are consoled by angels. They are assured of their eternal salvation, and filled with a hope that can never be disappointed in its expectations.

Their bitterest anguish is soothed by a certain profound peace. It is a species of Hell as regards the suffering ; it is a Paradise as regards the delight infused into their hearts by charity,Charity, stronger than death and more powerful than Hell;Charity, whose lamps are all fire and flame(Cantic. viii.).”Happy State” continues the Holy Bishop “more desirable than appalling since its flames are flames of love and charity.”

Such are the teachings of the doctors, from which it follows that if the pains of Purgatory are rigorous, they are not without consolation. Wnen imposing His cross upon us in this life, God pours upon it the unction of His grace, and in purifying the souls in Purgatory like gold in the crucible.He tempers their flames with ineffable consolations.We must not lose sight of this consoling element, this bright side of the often gloomy picture which we are going to examine.

~Source:”Purgatory:Illustrated by the Lives and Legends of the Saints”