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

Angels, guardian angels

Allie’s Angel

” I saw them with my bodily eyes as clearly as I see you. And when they departed, I used to weep and wish they would take me with them.”

~ST. JOAN OF ARC

When Mother’s Day rolls around, Lynn Levitin of West Bloomfield, Michigan, enjoys every minute of it, for her path to maternity has been more anxious than most. She remembers all too clearly the irrational fear she began to exhibit almost at the start of her second pregnancy; she felt certain that something was very wrong.

“My doctor tried to reassure me that the baby and I were both fine, but there was nothing he could say or do that would put my mind at rest,” she says. There seemed to be no reason for her concern, so there was no logical way to combat it. Eventually, Lynn went through a normal delivery and gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she hoped her strange fears had gone. But when little Alexandra was just ten days old, Lynn suddenly “knew” what her unease was all about. “As I was feeding her one night, I looked at our reflection in the mirror. There seemed to be a covering over her, like a gauzy white sheet. I took that vision as a warning-that although she appeared perfectly healthy, she needed medical attention immediately.

Lynn woke her husband, and he reluctantly took them to the hospital emergency room. “The ER staff were extremely kind and thorough, and they ran all kinds of tests, though they had nothing to go on because the baby appeared perfectly healthy. They finally sent me home with the reassurance that all was normal.” But Lynn’s overwhelming feelings of dread and unrest continued.

“Several days later, after talking to her pediatrician for the hundredth time, I took her to the ER of yet another hospital.” The same tests were administered, with the same results. Little Allie was as healthy as any baby could be. This time, however, Lynn refused to sign the discharge papers. “The baby is going to be ill very soon, and she needs to be here when it happens!” she insisted. One of the physicians slipped out to call for a psychiatrist. “Probably a postpartum-induced psychosis,” murmured another. But in the interim, they sent yet another doctor to see Allie.

After thoroughly examining her, he looked at Lynn. “I need you to tell me what is wrong with your daughter,” he said gently. At last! Someone who seemed to take her seriously! But what could she tell him? Lynn looked at the baby, and the baby looked right back. Their eyes locked for a moment, and suddenly Lynn knew. “You need to focus on her abdomen,” she said. “That’s where the problem is.” “Very well.” The doctor nodded. “We’ll do a CT scan tomorrow morning.””No! You have to do it now!” Lynn was adamant. “It’s very late in the day-” “Now!” Tears pricked her eyes. “I don’t think she’ll make it through the night.” Oddly, the doctor complied. Just a short time later, the results showed that Allie was filled with fluid and had peritonitis. Within an hour, she was in surgery, where physicians removed a portion of her colon. But they could not find the source of the peritonitis. “The doctor came out to talk to us, and he gently warned us that she might not live through the night,” Lynn says. “He explained that it was difficult enough operating on a healthy newborn, but Allie was so sick that her resistance was much lower. Yet somehow I knew she would be fine.”

Following a very lengthy hospital stay and recuperation tion period, baby Allie was discharged. “Watch over her closely for the first five years,” the doctors advised. Because they hadn’t found the cause of her illness, they could not be sure it wouldn’t return. However, to this day it remains a mystery. Alexandra developed well, and as she approached her second birthday, she started to talk. But her first word was not mama or dada. It was angel. As her verbal skills developed, she told her family that her angel’s name was Bummer, that he was a very tall man, at least eight feet, and seemed a playful person. “Frankly, I chalked it up to an imaginary friend,” Lynn says, “until odd things started happening in in the house. For example, one day I was looking for a book for my son. I turned the house upside down, but since Allie was only three, I didn’t include her in this search.” While Lynn was still looking, the toddler approached, carrying the book. “Here, Mommy,” she said, holding it out. “Bummer said you wanted this. He told me where it was.”

On several other occasions, Lynn would be in an adjacent room and hear Allie happily chattering away at Bummer. “One day I heard a deep male voice talking back to her,” Lynn says. “I ran into the next room, but she was alone. I thought I was hearing things, until the day my husband came to me and said he heard our daughter talking to someone, and a male voice responding.” And late one night Lynn was reading in her family room when she heard two sets of footsteps running across Allie’s hardwood floors just over her head, and the unmistakable sound of Allie’s giggling. “I couldn’t believe my two kids had gotten up and were playing so late,” Lynn says. But as she reached the upstairs landing she saw her son in his bedroom, fast asleep. Allie, however, was just jumping into her bed, still laughing. “Allie, what are you up to?” Lynn asked. “Bummer and I were playing, Mommy,” Allie reported, “but he told me it was time to go to bed now.” There had been two sets of footsteps, Lynn knew for sure. “We learned to leave her alone during these times, and we respected her visits with Bummer.” Time passed, and one day the family was vacationing in Florida. Allie awakened suddenly, in tears. “Honey, what’s the matter?” Lynn asked in alarm. “It’s Bummer,” Allie sobbed. “He says it’s time for him to go. He’ll always be close by, but …” “Where did Bummer say he was going?” Lynn asked. Allie pointed to the sky. Had it been a dream? No, the little girl was inconsolable, too upset to be comforted. Lynn could only try to distract her. “Don’t be sad, honey,” she said. “Remember, you’re turning five tomorrow, and we’re going to have a wonderful party for you with cake and presents-” And then Lynn remembered. The doctors had told her that her daughter would need to be “watched” for the first five years of her life. And so Allie had been watched, more closely and tenderly than any of them had ever suspected.

Bummer reappeared a few times during that next year, perhaps to ease Allie’s sadness over their separation, and he seems to be quite near the family even now, for Lynn has learned to sense a certain presence. As is typical with children who have these mystical experiences, Allie, now fifteen, remembers Bummer as if in a dream rather than as an actual being. But Lynn knows that he was real. “Many angels probably helped me through that difficult time,” she says. “I know they understand how grateful I am.”

~”Guardian Angels” by Joan Wester Anderson

spiritual warfare

St.Anthony of Padua’s battles with the demons

Saint Anthony of Padua was born in Lisbon in 1195. He entered into the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine at a very young age and became a priest. However, one day he heard the tale of a martyr in Morocco from some Friars Minor, sent by Saint Francis of Assisi to announce the Gospel to the sultans.

Fascinated by the spirit of the new order founded by Saint Francis, Fernando left his own order and joined the Friars Minor, taking the name of Anthony. Thanks to his great eloquence, his superiors sent him to Italy to preach. He ended up in the city of Padua, where he preached the Lenten sermons that upset the entire town.

It is here where he died in 1227. After his death the miracles obtained through his intersession were so numerous that he was canonized the following year.

Often Satan tormented Saint Anthony with diabolic illusions when he retired in prayer to his small hermitage of Brive. Often times fellow petitioners, that wanted to imitate his love for the poor and lonely, would join him. When the supply of food ended Saint Anthony would send them to look for help in the nearby village. One night on the way back from the village, some of his friends saw a band of pimps that were destroying a camp of one of their benefactors. They went right away to warn the Saint.

Saint Anthony replied to them: “Do not be afraid. It is only a decoy from the demon that wants to distract you from prayer.” The next day, in fact, the camp of the benefactor was found completely intact just as Saint Anthony assured them.

A case of diabolical obsession, that yielded to the power of St Anthony of Padua, was recorded in Portugal during the reign of King Denis. 

Under the guise of a heavenly visitant, the devil frequently appeared to a woman of Lisbon and urged her to throw herself into the river Tagus in order to obtain the remission of her sins and eternal happiness. 

The tormented woman at length decided to drown herself. Passing a Franciscan chapel on her way to the river, she entered, and kneeling before the altar of St. Anthony, implored the Saint to help her save her soul. Overcome by fatigue, she fell asleep. 

During her slumber St Anthony appeared to her, revealed the deceit of the “father of lies” and released her from the obsession. On awaking, the woman found a letter which the Saint had given her during the vision. It contained the prayer now known as the “Brief of St Anthony.” The original of Saint Anthonys Brief was preserved with the crown jewels by the King of Portugal. Pope Sixtus V caused the efficacious lines to be inscribed on an obelisk, which he had erected in the quadrangle in front of Saint Peter’s. 

SAINT ANTHONY’S BRIEF

Behold the Cross of the Lord!
Fly, ye powers of darkness!
The Lion of the tribe of Juda,
the root of David, has conquered.
Alleluia!

It is a devout practice to wear this blessing known as Saint Anthonys Brief on one’s person, or to put it up in the home, and often repeat it.

Passion of Christ comfort me! Comfort me for the day is long and weary, comfort me as I fight my up the path of life safe to the haven of Thy Sacred Heart. Comfort me in pain and sorrow and tribulation, comfort me when temptation rages around me and every hope seems lost. And when that last dread hour has sounded and my eyes are closing on this world of sin, Passion of Christ! comfort me then, and lead me gently to Thy Wounded Feet above. Amen

January Feast Days

Blessed Nikolaus Gross

Blessed Nikolaus was a Miner,Father of seven,Member of the Christian miners’ labour union at age 19, and secretary at 22. He was a member of the Zentrum Christian Party at age 20.He worked on Westdeutschen Arbeiterzeitung, (West German Workers’ Newspaper), the newspaper of the Catholic Workers’ Movement, at age 22, and became its director at age 24.

Non-violent opponent of Nazism from its beginnings. Worked with distinguished Catholic intellectuals who opposed the regime. From Cologne, Germany he exposed the lies and harmful effects of Nazi propaganda, and he worked for the revolt of consciences against Hitler. Declared an enemy of the state, his newspaper was shut down in 1938, but at great risk, he continued to publish an underground edition.

Nikolaus tried to organize resistance among Catholic workers in preparation for the planned assassination of Hitler on 20 July 1944. Though neither he nor the members of his group were implicated in the assassination attempt, Nikolaus was arrested on 12 August 1944 for treason, and sentenced to death by a People’s Court on 15 January 1945. Martyr.

Glaube, Liebe, Galgen (Faith, Love, Cross)

– motto chosen by the diocese of Essen for Nikolaus’s beatification

“We, Catholic workers, strongly and clearly reject National Socialism, not only for political and economic reasons, but also, decidedly, because of our religious and cultural position.

– Blessed Nikolaus

“The majority of great enterprises result from daily fulfillment of one’s duty in small, everyday things. What is valuable in the doing is our special love for the poor and the sick.”

– Blessed Nikolaus, 1943

“Blessed Nikolaus Gross teaches us to obey God rather than men. Our time urgently needs convinced Christians, who listen to the voice of their conscience and have the courage to speak out when it is a question of the transcendence of the human person.

– Pope John Paul II during the beatification ceremony for Blessed Nikolaus

January Feast Days, Miracles of Jesus, Pious Devotions

Miraculous Infant Jesus of Prague

The original statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague was created as a royal wedding gift from a Spanish Princess to her Austrian royal cousin. The statue of the Infant is a slender and beautifully-modeled figure and is carved of wood thinly coated with wax, standing nineteen inches tall, with the left foot barely visable under a long white tunic. The left hand encircles a miniature globe, surmounted by a cross, signifying the world-wide kingship of the Christ Child. The right hand is extended in blessing with the first two fingers being upraised to symbolize the two natures of Christ, while the folded thumb and last two fingers touch each other representing the unity of the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit in the mystery of the Blessed Trinity.

The face has a strange power of evoking sentiments of deep gratitude of the mystery of God-made-Man. For all His majestic posture and regal attire, the little King of Prague is more striking for His outward expression of human littleness than by the impression of hidden greatness. The wardrobe of the Infant is similar to the priest’s alb: one is of white linen, the other is of lace. Covering these is a dalmatic made of silk or velvet over which is worn a cape. It represents the Infant Jesus dressed in royal robes, wearing a crown. He is King of the Universe.

Later, the statue had been discarded in war and His hands destroyed. Found by a Carmelite, he fixed the hands and placed the statue in a place of honor in the Carmelite Church in Prague, Czech Republic.

In 1637, as Fr. Cyril prayed before the Infant, he was filled with wonder, contemplating the loving God Who became a child for His people. Suddenly, the statue spoke to the stunned Carmelite:

Have mercy on Me and I will have mercy on you.
Give Me hands and I will give you peace.
The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you.

Many miracles have occurred through intercession to the Divine Infant. During one invasion, all the children of the city were taken to the Church for protection—praying to the Infant, they were all saved. For almost four centuries, this promise of protection and blessing has inspired devotion and love of the Infant Jesus of Prague.

The home of the Infant Jesus of Prague is in the city of Prague, which is the capital of the Czech Republic. The original statue has been restored and preserved in the Carmelite church of Our Lady of Victory (pictured here). The Church was returned to the Carmelites after the fall of Communism. The statue provides spiritual uplift for millions of people who have adopted the Holy Infant’s call to humility, simplicity, and sincerity and to become little in order to become great and pleasing before Christ the King.

Devotion to the Miraculous Infant Jesus celebrates the “Child of God”—the great mystery of the Incarnation. The child in all of us believes in the humanity and divinity of Christ and rejoices in God’s caring and protective love for us. The Infant reminds us that God is holding us in the palm of His hand.

The effective spiritual meditation is the reason why the Infant Jesus of Prague is so continuously appealing to human hearts all over the world, which he has so firmly in His hands. You can find His statue in almost any church, convent, monastery and house, representing a Divine Protection toward His devotees.

Prayer to the Miraculous Infant Jesus of Prague

Prayer Revelated by Our Lady To the Venerable Father F. Cyril OCD

O Infant Jesus, I have recourse to You and ask You through the intercession of Your Holy Mother to help me in my need, ( mention it here) for I firmly believe that Your Divinity can help me.

I hope, in complete trust, to obtain Your holy grace. I love You with all my heart and with all the strength of my soul. I am truly sorry for all my sins, and beg You, O good Jesus, to give me strength to conquer them. I shall never offend You and I am ready to suffer rather than to cause You pain.

From now on I want to serve with complete faithfulness and for love of You, O Divine Child, I will love my neighbour as well as myself. Omnipotent Child, Lord Jesus, again I implore You, help me in this need of mine (mention it).

Grant me the grace of possessing You eternally, with Mary and Joseph and of adoring You with the holy angels in Your heavenly court. Amen

Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague in Urgent Need

(To be said for nine days or nine consecutive hours)

O Jesus, Who said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother, I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be answered. (Mention your request)

O Jesus, Who said, “All that you ask of the Father in My Name He will grant you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother, I humbly and urgently ask Your Father in Your Name that my prayer be granted. (Mention your request.)

O Jesus, Who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word shall not pass,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother, I feel confident that my prayer will be granted. (Mention your request) Amen.

Chaplet of the Holy Infant Jesus

“The More You Honor Me The More I Will Bless You”

On the medal the following invocation is said:

Divine Infant Jesus, I adore Thy Cross and I accept all the cross Thou wilt be pleased to send me. Adorable Trinity, I offer Thee for the glory of Thy Holy Name of God, all the adorations of the Sacred Heart of the Holy Infant Jesus.

Each Our Father and Hail Mary is preceded by the aspiration:

“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.”

On finishing the chaplet say:

Holy Infant Jesus, bless and protect us.

This devotion owes its origin to the zeal of Sister Marguerite, a Carmelite religious, who died in France in 1648. She was distinguished for her devotion to the Holy Child Jesus.

Directed by heavenly guidance, Venerable Sister Marguerite of the BI. Sacrament (1619-1648), a Carmelite nun, fashioned the Infant Jesus Chaplet. Because its recitation pleases Him so very much

Jesus promised Sister Marguerite that the faithful who recite it in memory of His Birth, His Flight into Egypt, and His Hidden Life at Nazareth, will not only be granted the special graces of purity of heart and innocence, but in addition will be unfailingly assisted by His Divine Help in all their spiritual and temporal wants. Moreover, to encourage the use of this Holy Chaplet, P. Pius IX granted a 100 days indulgence for each recitation, also applicable to the Poor Souls (Aug. 9, 1855).

Pious Devotions

Jesus,Master,Teach Me

JESUS, MASTER, TEACH ME.

Teach me, teach me, dearest Jesus

In Thine own sweet loving way.

All the lessons of perfection

I must practice day by day.

Teach me Meekness, dearest Jesus,

Of Thine own the counterpart;

Not in words and actions only.

But the meekness of the heart.

Teach Humility, sweet Jesus,

To this poor, proud heart of mine,

Which yet wishes,O my Jesus,

To be modelled after Thine.

Teach me Fervor, dearest Jesus,

To comply with every grace,

So as never to look backwards,

Never slacken in the race.

Teach me Poverty, sweet Jesus,

That my heart may never cling

To whate’er its love might sever

From my Saviour, Spouse, and King,

Teach me Chastity, sweet Jesus,

That my every day may see

Something added to the likeness

That my soul should bear to Thee,

Teach Obedience,dearest Jesus,

Such as was Thy daily food

In Thy toilsome earthly journey

From the cradle to the rood.

Teach Thy Heart to me, dear Jesus,

Is my fervent, final prayer,

For all beauties and perfections

Are in full perfection there.