Hell, Visions of the Saints

St.Bridget witnessed a soul being condemned by the Holy Trinity

The bride saw God looking angry. He was saying: “I am without beginning and without end. There is no change in me either of year or day. Rather, all the time in the world is like a single hour or moment to me. Everyone who sees me sees and understands everything that is in me in an instant, so to speak. However, my bride, since you are in a material body, you cannot perceive and comprehend like a spirit. Therefore, for your sake, I will explain to you what has happened. I was, as it were, seated in judgment, for all judgment has been given to me, and a certain person came to be judged before the tribunal. The voice of the Father resounded and said to him: ‘Woe unto you that ever you were born.’

It was not as though God had repented of having created him, but just like anyone would be sorry for another person and feel compassion for him. The voice of the Son came in answer: ‘I poured out my blood for you and accepted a harsh punishment for you, but you have alienated yourself entirely from it and will have nothing to do with it.’ The voice of the Spirit said: ‘I searched all the corners of his heart to see if I might perhaps find some tenderness and charity in his heart, but he is as cold as ice, as hard as stone. He is none of my concern.’

These three voices have not been heard as if there were three gods, but they were made audible for your sake, my bride, because otherwise you would not be able to understand this mystery. The three voices of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit were then immediately transformed into a single voice that thundered and said: ‘By no means do you deserve the kingdom of heaven!’ The Mother of mercy remained silent and did not open up her mercy, for the defendant was unworthy of it. All the saints cried out in one voice saying: ‘It is divine justice for him to be perpetually exiled from your kingdom and from your joy.’ All those in purgatory said: ‘We have no punishment harsh enough to punish your sins. You must endure greater torments and you will therefore be secluded from us.’ Then even the defendant himself cried out in a horrendous voice, saying: ‘Alas, alas for the seeds that came together in my mother’s womb and from which I was formed!’ He cried out a second time and said:

Accursed be the hour in which my soul was joined to my body and accursed be he who gave me a body and soul!’ He cried out a third time: ‘Accursed be the hour in which I came forth alive from the belly of my mother!’ Then came three horrible voices from hell saying to him: ‘Come to us, accursed soul, like liquid copper draining down to perpetual death and life interminable!’ They cried out a second time: ‘Come, accursed soul, empty for our malice! For there will be none of us who will not fill you with his own pain and malice.’ They cried out a third time: ‘Come, accursed soul, heavy like a stone that sinks and sinks and never reaches the bottom where it can rest!

You will descend deeper into the deep than we, and you will not be brought to a standstill until you have reached the lowest part of the abyss.

(St. Bridget of Sweden, ‘The Revelations)

Poor Souls in Purgatory, Visions of the Saints

St. Lidwina of Schiedam’s Visions of Purgatory

Let us narrate a third vision relating to the interior of Purgatory, that of St. Lidwina of Schiedam, who died in April 1433, and whose history, written by a contempo- rary priest, has the most perfect authenticity.

This admirable virgin, a true prodigy of Christian patience, was a prey to all the pains of the most cruel maladies for the period of thirty eight years. Her sufferings rendering sleep impossible to her, she passed long nights in prayer, and then, frequently rapt in spirit, she was conducted by her angel guardian into the mysterious regions of Purgatory dwellings, prisons, divers dungeons, one more dismal than the other ; she met, too, souls that she knew, and she was shown their various punishments.

It may be asked, ” What was the nature of those ecstatic journeys ? ” and it is difficult to explain ; but we may con- clude from certain other circumstances that there was more reality in them than we might be led to believe. The holy invalid made similar journeys and pilgrimages upon earth, to the holy places in Palestine, to the churches of Rome, and to monasteries in the vicinity. She had an exact knowledge of the places which she had thus traversed. A

Religious of the monastery of St. Elizabeth, conversing one day with her, and speaking of the cells, of the chapter-room, of the refectory, and of his community, she gave him as exact and detailed a description of his house as though she had passed her life there. The Religious having expressed his surprise, ” Know, Father,” said she, ” that I have been through your monastery ; I have visited the cells, I have seen the angel guardians of all those who occupy them.”

One of the journeys which our saint made to Purgatory occurred as follows :

An unfortunate sinner, entangled in the corruptions of theworld,wasfinallyconverted. Thanks to the prayers and urgent exhortations of Lidwina, he made a sincere con- fession of all his sins and received absolution, but had little time to practise penance, for shortly after he died of the plague.

The saint offered up many prayers and sufferings for his soul ; and some time afterwards, having been taken by her angel guardian into Purgatory, she desired to know if he was still there, and in what condition. ” He is there,” said her angel, “and he suffers much. Would you be willing to endure some pain in order to diminish his?” Certainly,” she replied, ” I am ready to suffer anything to assist him.” Instantly her angel conducted her into a place of frightful torture. “Is this, then, Hell, my brother?” asked the holy maiden, seized with horror. ” No, sister,” answered the angel, “but this part of Purgatory is bordering upon Hell.” Looking around on all sides, she saw what resembled an immense prison, surrounded with walls of a prodigious height, the blackness of which, together with the monstrous stones, inspired her with horror. Approaching this dismal enclosure, she heard a confused noise of lamenting voices, cries of fury, chains, instruments of torture, violent blows which the executioners discharged upon their victims. This noise was such that all the tumult of the world, in tempest or battle, could bear no comparison to it. “What, then, is that horrible place?” asked St. Lidwina of her good angel. ” Do you wish me to show it to you?” ” No, I beseech you,” said she, recoiling with terror ; ” the noise which I hear is so frightful that I can no longer bear it;how, then, could I endure the sight of those horrors?”Continuing her mysterious route, she saw an angel seated sadly on the curb of a well. “Who is that angel? ” she asked of her guide. ” It is,” he replied, “the angel guardian of the sinner in whose lot you are interested. His soul is in this well, where it has a special Purgatory.” At these words, Lidwina cast an inquiring glance at her angel ; she desired to see that soul which was dear to her, and endeavour to release it from that frightful pit. Her angel, who understood her, having taken off the cover of the well, a cloud of flames, together with the most plaintive cries, came forth.

” Do you recognise that voice ? ” said the angel to her. ” Alas ! yes,” answered the servant of God. ” Do you desire to see that soul ? ” he continued. On her replying in the affirmative, he called him by his name ; and immediately our virgin saw appear at the mouth of the pit a spirit all on fire, resembling incandescent metal, which said to her in a voice scarcely audible, ” O Lidwina, servant of God, who will give me to contemplate the face of the Most High?”

The sight of this soul, a prey to the most terrible torment of fire, gave our saint such a shock that the cincture which she wore around her body was rent in twain ; and, no longer able to endure the sight, she awoke suddenly from her ecstasy.

The persons present, perceiving her fear, asked her its cause. ” Alas !” she replied, ” how frightful are the prisons of Purgatory ! It was to assist the souls that I consented to descend thither. Without this motive, if the whole world were given to me, I would not undergo the terror which that horrible spectacle inspired.”

Some days later, the same angel whom she had seen so dejected appeared to her with a joyful countenance;told her that the soul of his protege had left the pit and passed into the ordinary purgatory. This partial alleviation did not suffice the charity of Lidwina; she continued to pray for the poor patient, and to apply to him the merits of her sufferings, until she saw the gates of Heaven opened to him.

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

Pious Devotions, Preparation For Death, Preparation for Heaven, Spiritual Direction, spiritual warfare, Visions of the Saints

The Efficacious Devotion of the Three Hail Marys

One of the greatest means of salvation and one of the surest signs of predestination, is unquestionably, the devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin. All the holy doctors of the Church are unanimous in saying with St. Alphonsus of Liguori:  “A devout servant of Mary shall never perish.” The chief thing is to persevere faithfully until death in this devotion.

Numerous examples show how agreeable the three Hail Marys Devotion is to the Divine Mother and what special graces it draws, during life and at the hour of death, on those who never omit it for a single day.

Many great saints have practiced and recommended the devotion of the “Three Hail Mary”. Here are the names of but a few of them: St. Leonard of Port Maurice, St. Bruno, St. Bonaventure, St. John Berchmans, St. John Baptist Mary Vianney (Cure of Ars), St. Anthony of Lisbon and of Padua, St. Stanislaus Kostka, St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, St. John Joseph of the Cross, St. John Baptist de Rossi, St. Gerard Majella, St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Blessed Marcellinus Champagnat, and, above all, the great Marian doctor St. Alphonsus Liguori who, in his writings recommended this devotion about twenty times.

This practice was revealed to St. Melchtilde while she was beseeching Our Blessed Mother to assist her in her hour of death. Our Lady appeared to her and said: “I will, certainly. But I also want you to say three special Hail Marys to me every day.

“The first Hail Mary will be in honor of God the Father, Whose omnipotence raised my soul so high above every other creature that after God I have the greatest power in heaven and on earth. In the hour of your death I will use that power of God the Father to keep any hostile power far from you.”

“The second Hail Mary will be said in honor of the Son of God Who communicated His inscrutable wisdom to me. In the hour of your death I will fill your soul with the light of that wisdom so that all the darkness of ignorance and error will be dispelled.”

“The third Hail Mary will be in honor of God the Holy Ghost Who filled my soul with the sweetness of His love and tenderness and mercy. In your last hour I will then change the bitterness of death into divine sweetness and delight.”

Our Blessed Mother also revealed to St. Gertrude the Great: “To any soul who faithfully prays the Three Hail Marys, I will appear at the hour of death in a splendor so extraordinary that it will fill the soul with heavenly consolation.”

St. Leonard of Port Maurice, the celebrated missionary, had the Three Hail Marys recited morning and evening in honor of Mary Immaculate, to obtain the grace of avoiding all mortal sins during the day or night; moreover he promised in a special manner eternal salvation to all those who proved constantly faithful to this practice. He gave this devotion of Three Hail Marys as a penance in the confessional, especially for those who were struggling with sins of impurity.

Astonishing conversions, increase in virtues, cure of the sick, temptations conquered, business difficulties solved, holy death.and salvation.” 

– the promise made by the Blessed Virgin to St. Mechtilde.

The “Three Hail Marys”, are in the words of St Alphonsus Maria Liquori: “the best safeguard for chastity”

-This statement was recorded and attributed to St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori by St. Pius X; “that it is true, has been confirmed by our experiences as well as those of many missionaries” (according to Frassinetti). Even the number of graces and favors obtained through the practice of this devotion show us just how pleasing it is to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Here is the personal testimony of a sinner who used the devotion with good results: “For the last three years, I have been the slave of a bad habit against the virtue of purity. How could I get rid of this terrible passion? I tried every means available, but all proved useless. I used to give in to very serious sins and even to sacrileges. This was most disheartening. “Then, one day, someone recommended to me the devotion of the “Three Hail Marys”. And now, it is not yet quite one month since I started to pray the “Three Hail Marys” every morning and every night without fail. I cannot explain what has happened within me, but I do know and can assure you that, since the very first moment, it has produced wonderful results within me: I have not succumbed to the impure temptations since then. When I have been weak and just about ready to succumb, something or another has happened which has stopped me from giving in; and, indeed, I do know that it was something stronger than my desire of sinning.”

According to St. Gertrude (1256–1301), the Blessed Virgin Mary promised the following: “To any soul who faithfully prays the Three Hail Marys I will appear at the hour of death in a splendor of beauty so extraordinary that it will fill the soul with Heavenly consolation.”

Later on, St. Leonard of Port Maurice, “had the three Ave Marias recited morning and evening in honor of Mary Immaculate, to obtain the grace of avoiding all mortal sins during the day or and night; moreover, he promised in a special manner eternal salvation to all those who proved constantly faithful to this practice.”

St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696–1787) adopted this pious practice and highly recommended it. He told parents to train their children to acquire the habit of saying three Hail Marys in the morning and evening. After each Hail Mary, he advice that the following prayer be said: “By thy Immaculate Conception, O Mary, make my body pure and my soul holy.”

According to the St. Martha Catholic Church of the Pallottine Fathers, after Night Prayers, “Many Saints have had the practice of adding three “Hail Mary’s” here in honor of Mary’s purity for the grace of a chaste and holy life.”  Thus, it has been recommended as a daily practice for people who have received confirmation that they pray the Three Hail Marys for “purity of mind, heart and body” after examination of conscience.

Practice: Recite morning and evening, three Hail Marys in honor of the three great privileges bestowed upon Our Blessed Mother by the most Blessed Trinity with this invocation at the end: for the morning: “O my Mother preserve me from mortal sin during this day.” For the evening: “O my Mother preserve me from mortal sin during this night.”

(Pope St. Pius X gave his Apostolic Blessing to this practice and the devotion was raised to an Archconfraternity by Pope Benedict XV.)

spiritual warfare, Visions of the Saints

The Fury of the Devil at the Loss of Souls

SISTER JOSEFA MENENDEZ WITNESSES THE RAGE OF SATAN AT LOSING THREE SOUL’S

From the Diary of Sister Josefa Menendez, From the Book The Way of Divine Love

These are a few notes of Sister Josefa’s about Hell. She wrote with great reticence on this subject. She did it only to conform to Our Blessed Lord’s wishes, Our Lady having told her on Oct. 25th, 1922: “Everything that Jesus allows you to see and to suffer of the torments of hell, is so that you may make it know to your Mothers. (who eventually published it for the world after Josefa’s death.) So, forget yourself entirely, and think only of the glory of the Heart of Jesus and the salvation of souls.”

More than once Sister Josefa witnessed the fierce struggle of the devil to wrestle from divine mercy souls that he already believed his. Then the sufferings of Josefa enter, as it seems, into God’s plans, as a rescue of these poor souls, who will owe her the last and definitive victory, at the moment of death.

“The devil was very angry because he wanted three souls to be lost … He was screaming with anger: Let them not escape … they are leaving … Strong … strong!” This way, without ceasing, with shouts of rage that answered, by far, other demons. For several days I witnessed these struggles.

“I begged the Lord to do whatever He wanted, as long as these souls did not get lost.” I also went to the Virgin and She gave me great peace of mind because she left me willing to suffer everything to save them, and I believe that She will not allow the devil to come out victorious. ”

“The devil shouted a lot: Do not let her … be alert to everything that can disturb you … Do not let her escape … make her despair … The confusion was tremendous of screams and blasphemies, then I heard him say furiously: It does not matter, I still have two left … Take away their confidence … I understood by those words that one had escaped, that it had already passed into eternity, because I was shouting: Soon … Hurry … Let these two not escape … Take them, let them despair … Soon, they are going away.

“Immediately, with a grinding of teeth and a rage that can not be said, I felt those tremendous cries:

Oh God’s power that have more strength than me …! I still have one …, and I will not let you take it …! Hell all was no more than a scream of despair, with a great disorder and the devils screamed and complained and blasphemed horribly. I knew with this that the souls were saved. My heart jumped with joy, but I was unable to make an act of love. I still feel in the soul the need to love … I do not feel hatred towards God like these other souls, and when I hear that they curse and blaspheme, it causes me great sorrow; I do not know what I would suffer to prevent Our Lord being insulted and offended. What hurts me is that spending time eternity here, I will be like the others. This makes me suffer a lot, because I still remember that I loved Our Lord and that He was very good to me. I feel a lot of torment, especially these last days. It is as if a river of fire enters my throat and passes through my entire body, together with the pain I have said before. As if they were pressing me from behind and ahead with burning plates …

I can not say what I suffer … it is so much pain … It seems that the eyes are out of place and as if they were pulling to tear … The nerves are very tight. The body is bent, you can not move a finger …

The smell that is so bad, you can not breathe, but all this is nothing in comparison to the soul, that knowing the goodness of God, is forced to hate him and, above all, if he has known and loved him, suffers much more … “